Hackers claim to break iPhone X's Face ID

Considering this "challenge accepted" Vietnamese tech security firm Bkav have applied 3D printing, silicone molding and handmade design to develop a mask that claims to successfully trick FaceID into unlocking any iPhone X.

The smartphone rival admitted the flaw but said that it never claimed facial recognition was uncrackable. "Country leaders, leaders of major corporations.are the ones that need to know about the issue, because their devices are worth illegal unlock attempts". The system relies on artificial intelligence.

Bkav has declined to explain why its efforts succeeded where others' did not-thus, it's unclear how the firm did it, or how momentous the "hack" really is.

These users might want to take extra steps beyond Face ID if they want their device fully protected.

The research team didn't go as far as to reconstruct accurate masks of the phone owner's face, compared to past experiments that failed.

The firm says it was able to trick Apple's Face ID AI by understanding how it worked. When Apple was detailing this feature, it said that even Hollywood-quality face masks can't fool the Face ID. The team suggested that since since Apple released the iPhone X a year early, "they haven't carried out scientific and serious estimation before deciding to replace Touch ID with Face ID".

Face ID is still proving to be more secure than some of the facial recognition options in Android, which have been fooled with just photos in the past. That puts their spoofing method in the realm of highly targeted espionage, rather than the sort of run-of-the-mill hacking most iPhone X owners might face, says Wired.

Other than that, the eyes were represented with printed 2D images, with a little extra special processing done on the cheeks and other areas of the face where there are large areas of skin. "If convenience is more important, Face ID may be your choice".

Apple says the iPhone X uses infrared imaging and a depth map of a user's face with 30,000 invisible dots to ensure identity.

But it seems that Face ID might not be infallible, from a security perspective.

The researchers concede, however, that their technique would require a detailed measurement or digital scan of a the face of the target iPhone's owner.

It took the researchers some attempts to get the mask right in order to trick Face ID, but at $150, around £114, to create the mask, the hack is not massively expensive providing one has the knowledge how to create it to specifically beat facial recognition systems. FaceTec, a San Diego based software start-up, has also demonstrated that if iPhone X users fall asleep, then their faces can still be used to unlock their handsets.

However, it does raise security concerns given that the mask reportedly cost about $150 (£114) to create.

Vanessa Coleman

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