IPhone X Face ID Fooled By A Mask

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino California

Face ID is Apple's latest security feature.

The company released a video, in which a company staff member pulls off a cloth from a face mask which is placed in front of the iPhone X. The phone instantly unlocks when the mask is placed in front of it. Turns out they've found success using a strange-looking 3D-printed mask.

"The mask is crafted by combining 3D printing with makeup and 2D images, besides some special processing on the cheeks and around the face, where there are large skin areas, to fool AI of Face ID", said Bkav vice president Ngo Tuan Anh. Bkav says it had to create a face mask made up of different materials for different parts of the face.

But assuming Bkav's method really works as advertised, would this be a major security issue for casual users? The mask had sculpted silicone nose, two dimensional eyes and lips printed on paper which were mounted on a 3D printed plastic frame. Probably not. As Bkav explained in their blog post, "It is quite hard to make the "correct" mask without certain knowledge of security". Bkav admits that the project is too far from practical for average iPhone X users to be anxious about, as it's unlikely someone is going to go to these lengths to look at some private photos or email. Apart from unlocking the device, Face ID can also be used for payments, authentication, Apple Pay, and accessing securing apps as well.

Such sophisticated means to spoof the iPhone X Face ID means that regular iPhone X users would most likely not be the targets. Users can quickly disable Face ID by pressing the lock button five times in a row, but it would hypothetically be possible to steal someone's phone and use the mask to unlock it before Face ID could be locked out. Besides, it requires the dimensions of a person's face and detailed imagery.

If the person looking to break in isn't anxious about subtlety, they could just physically force the user to unlock the biometric security anyways, or possibly scan the user's face while they were sleeping or incapacitated.

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