Next Apple iPad Pro to Get Facial Recognition, Faster Processor

Today’s topics include Apple adding facial recognition to the iPad Pro; a survey finding most users do not use two-factor authentication; Google adding a version testing feature to its Firebase mobile development platform; and CrowdStrike’s release of its Falcon Spotlight vulnerability management tool.

According to a Bloomberg report, Apple will be upgrading the iPad Pro to include a Face ID 3D facial scanning feature, which will also allow room for a larger display. The new iPad Pro will also come with a faster processor and a graphics processor, and is expected to be introduced in late summer of 2018, which could mean it will be introduced along with the next iPhone.

The addition of Face ID to the iPad would allow Apple to effectively increase the iPad screen size to around 11.8 inches from the current 10.5-inch display without increasing the size of the iPad because it would have a borderless screen.

Sales of the original iPad had slowed in recent years, but the success of the iPad Pro, especially the 10.5-inch version, has encouraged Apple to market this iPad model more as a business product.

The results of a Duo Security survey published Nov. 7 indicate only 28 percent of Americans have ever used two-factor authentication, which is a second form of identification when logging into an online account. Surprisingly, prior to the survey, 56 percent of respondents did not even know about two-factor authentication.

"The media does a good job of covering … breaches and about what type of information is leaked,” Olabode Anise, a data scientist with Duo Security, told eWEEK. “But the follow-on needs to be how [to protect yourself] and the benefits of two-factor authentication.”

By far the most popular two-factor authentication method is sending SMS text messages to a pre-registered phone number, which is used by about 86 percent of those who use two-factor authentication.

Google has added a new feature in its Firebase mobile app development platform that makes it easier for developers to set up and measure sophisticated A/B tests.

A/B tests allow organizations to compare two or more versions of web pages, applications or any other product among a randomly selected group of users to determine which version performs best.

The new capability works with an existing Remote Configuration feature in Firebase that lets Android and iOS developers change the appearance and behavior of a mobile application on the fly from a central console. Firebase will automatically deliver the different variations of the application being tested to randomly selected users and then measure how the different user groups interact with the different versions over a period of time to determine the most effective version.

Security vendor CrowdStrike announced its new Falcon Spotlight tool on Nov. 8, providing organizations with the ability to accurately manage security vulnerabilities.

"The idea … started during the WannaCry outbreak, when we had some customers disbelieving that they were getting hit ... because they were confident they had patched their systems," Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO at CrowdStrike, told eWEEK. "Scanners showed patches were deployed, but in fact what the vulnerability scanners were only doing was looking at a system registry to see if a patch was installed."

The Falcon Spotlight module uses data that CrowdStrike is already collecting in customer environments to continuously scan systems to detect and identify unpatched vulnerabilities. Although Falcon Spotlight doesn't handle patch deployment, the system can prioritize vulnerabilities and has threat prevention capabilities built-in to help reduce risk.