Iwas hacking: How mobile wallet app users can level up account security

March 16, 2023 - 12:13 PM
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GCash Selfie Scan
Screengrab of video advertisement of GCash on "DoubleSafe" feature as posted on its Twitter account on March 15, 2023 (Screengrab from gcashofficial/Twitter)

“Ikaw lang ang may access.”

A mobile wallet app shared an anti-hacking tip with its users involving biometrics as security protection.

GCash on Wednesday announced that Filipinos can level up the security measures of their account by activating the “DoubleSafe” authentication feature which uses facial recognition technology.

Apart from the standard SMS OTP or one-time password, the user will have to take a selfie scan before being granted access to their account.

“With your face, ikaw lang may access sa account mo!” the mobile wallet said in a Facebook post on March 15.

GCash said that Filipinos could activate the feature by the following:

  • Enter your GCash mobile number
  • Key in your SMS OTP
  • Enter your MPIN
  • Prepare for your selfie scan and tap ‘next’
  • Take a selfie scan

A short tutorial is available on the mobile app’s Twitter account.

GCash also shared some advice on how to take a good selfie scan for maximum protection:

  • Take it in a well-lit room
  • Ensure no other people are in the background
  • Show your full face
  • Do not cover your face with any hand gesture, mask, helmet, and/or head accessory
  • Wait for the camera to finish scanning your face
  • Wear proper attire

The mobile app said that the feature is only available for fully-verified users.

It added that the additional layer of protection helps “prevent unauthorized transactions or any fraudulent activities.”

“This will ensure that only the owner of the account can access his or her account on any device,” GCash said in a Facebook comment.

Winsley Bangit, the mobile app’s chief customer officer, in a report said that the “DoubleSafe” feature “removes customers’ dependence on SMS OTPs which has been exploited by some fraudsters to scam users.”

“It will provide a unique identifier that can’t be phished by scammers. It also provides an additional layer of security to the current SMS OTP,” he added.

Biometrical facial recognition is among the latest security measures being used by phone manufacturers and app developers to boost protection against malicious actors like hackers.

It relies on body measures such as the face and head to verify the identity of an individual through their facial biometric pattern and data.

This is then used to identify, verify and authenticate the person before he/she is given access to an account.

The measure is considered safer since it does not rely on numbers or passwords that hackers can guess.