A Gatekeeper That Takes You At Face Value

ALTHOUGH YOUR FACE might not be remarkable enough to launch a thousand ships, it could soon be instrumental for launching your PC. Boston-based Miros Inc. has developed a facial-recognition software program to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to PCs holding sensitive information. Installed on a camera-equipped PC, CyberWatch software can take a picture of the person seeking access and compare it with a previously stored facial image in its database. The system can't be thrown by haircuts, jewelry, or other distractions, the company says, because it uses special algorithms known as neural network programming to match the overall picture of a person's face, rather than comparing images on a pixel by pixel basis.

John McCormick, director of sales at Miros, says CyberWatch works as reliably as fingerprint readers and costs less. The company figures its customer base to be huge, targeting financial companies, brokerages, government agencies, health-care providers, and other companies that routinely store sensitive information on PCs. CyberWatch costs $199 for the software and is due for release this fall.

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