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Sophos has announced the RAPIL (Recognition and Analysis of Potentially Intruding Lifeforms), a program which is able to ‘analyse’ a user’s facial features to determine if they are hackers.


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The new system uses webcams to determine the look and feel of computer users in real time. If the user is a hacker, the computer is immediately frozen to prevent further use, says Sophos.

Sophos Asia Pacific’s Head of Technology, Paul Ducklin said, “RAPIL doesn’t just block viruses before they execute – it blocks viruses from being written in the first place.”

However, RAPIL is still at its beta (version 0.401) and has yet to be perfected. “Although we have 97.8 percent effectiveness for unobscured faces, obfuscation techniques such as the wearing of fake beards reduces the effectiveness of the system dramatically. Even the deployment of a beret can defeat RAPIL, meaning that French hackers are almost undetectable at this stage. We need more real-world data showing non-malicious computer users in a state of facial polymorphism. This will allow us to train the system better,” added Ducklin.

Sophos is therefore calling upon computer users in Australia and New Zealand to upload facially polymorphic pictures of themselves. Sophos aims to release a fully-working version of RAPIL in early spring of 2009.

See: http://www.sophos.com/blog

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