Updated at 1:14 p.m. PST Friday, December 5 with comment from Lenovo.
Editor's note: CNET editor and Crave contributor Dong Ngo is spending the month of December in his homeland of Vietnam and plans to file occasional dispatches chronicling his impressions of how technology has permeated the culture there. Click here for more of Dong's stories from abroad.
HANOI, Vietnam--Regardless of what some people seem to think, we Asians do not all look the same. But according to the current face recognition algorithm used in laptops, our faces are all about as flat as a piece of paper.
That's according to BKIS, the Vietnamese Internetwork Security Center that makes the antivirus software I mentioned in a blog post Monday. At a press conference here Tuesday, the company demonstrated vulnerabilities in laptops' face recognition-based authentication mechanisms that let anyone log in to a computer easily with a "special" photo of the legit owner, even at the highest authentication level.
Using your face as the password to log in to a computer--an alternative to the fingerprint method or the traditional username and password--marks a new trend found in laptops from Lenovo, Asus, and Toshiba. As far as I know, only these three vendors currently offer this technology in their laptops. These computers come with a built-in Webcam that's used to capture and analyze faces.
I've been impressed by this new way to log in and have found it to be so much more convenient than the fingerprint reader of my Dell XPS 1330. The finger scanner is a pain when my finger is wet or dirty. Unfortunately, on Tuesday I discovered that this new and exciting technology may not be such an effective security measure.