Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Security firm says extremely creepy mask cracks iPhone X's face ID

Security firm says extremely creepy mask cracks iPhone X's face ID

Now, Bkav says that its 3D printed mask proves that Apple's new Face ID is "not an effective security measure". Rather than strive for absolute realism, the team built its mask with the aim of tricking the depth-mapping technology.

Similar to iPhone X, Apple is working on introducing Face ID system on its iPad by removing the device's home button. There are at least a few ways the video could have been faked, the most obvious of which would be to just train Face ID on the mask itself before presenting it with the actual face likeness. Facial recognition has shown its pitfalls in the past, with hackers tricking security by putting a photo over the camera.

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On Friday, Vietnamese security firm Bkav released a blog post and video showing that-by all appearances-they'd cracked Face ID with a composite mask of 3D-printed plastic, silicone, makeup, and simple paper cutouts, which in combination tricked an iPhone X into unlocking. Face ID is different from other electronic devices' image recognition techniques due to this dot projection, which creates a 3D image by directing beams of infrared light at a person's face; then, artificial intelligence essentially "learns" the face and keeps other faces from accessing the phone. However many have raised concerns as to how safe is Apple's face ID?

"If you happen to have an evil twin, you need to protect your data with a passcode", marketing vice president Phil Schiller joked during Apple's iPhone X announcement.

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Skeptics were quick to predict that someone would be able to fool Face ID since it was unveiled in September. The firm wrote that while an average user probably doesn't have much to worry about (unless you are thinking about data access and surveillance issues), targeted attacks will be made possible using Face ID since it's clearly weaker than a passcode that even sophisticated agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation are unable to crack into. "Detailed dimensions would have to be taken to create the mask, and the security firm alluded to the fact that they had to use a special material on the mask too". "If convenience is more important, Face ID may be your choice".

According the company, the mask cost approximately $150 to produce, but it is not clear how many attempts it actually had at cracking the facial recognition technology. It only required roughly $150 excluding 3D printer to make this mask. "This seems like an unlikely sequence of events", Norris said. The cybersecurity firm did stress that "billionaires, leaders of major corporations, nation leaders and agents like FBI" need to be aware of the problem.

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