Facial data with mask being sold for only $0.007 USD for each face

A fact known by any user familiar with cybersecurity and data protection issues is that China has become a kind of paradise for the illegal sale of databases with facial recognition data and other biometric indicators, although data security training specialists have reported new practices related to these crimes.

According to the most recent reports published in South China Morning Post, criminals now sell masked face recognition data. Multiple artificial intelligence tools can recognize people’s faces even if they’re wearing a mask, so these images are being leaked and sold on hacking forums for less than ten cents each ($0.007 USD).

An anonymous illegal seller stated that these images of masked faces are collected from public websites and social media platforms, but they also claimed that some of these images are extracted from surveillance systems in neighborhoods or workplaces. In the report, data security training experts mention that these providers have traded databases of up to 20,000 images for less than $150 USD.

The coronavirus outbreak emergence has led hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to use head coverings on a daily basis, which is counterproductive for some facial recognition systems, so developers must use other methods. By mapping more key points, and gathering more accurate information about people’s eyes and nose, AI developers have bypassed the use of punch covers, even some users of Apple devices have proven capable unlock using Face ID using these virus protectors.

Data security training specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) say that just like cybercriminal groups, governments and private companies around the world have been increasingly interested in biometric data collection. In addition, the use of biometric blocking for smart devices and mobile hearth status monitoring applications has increased the amount of biometric data stored on smart devices, so threat actors have a wealth of resources at their disposal to get.