Apple introduced Face ID with the launch of iPhone X claiming that the feature is fool proof and even a Hollywood-quality mask cannot breach its security system. Well, the recent reports just prove the claim as ‘marketing stunt’. People all around the world are sharing their experiences on YouTube and other social media platforms.
Earlier, security researchers at Bkav claim to have dodged Face ID by using a special mask and the most recent one being more interesting as a 10 years old kid successfully unlocked his mother’s iPhone X deceiving Face ID.
Researchers Unlock iPhone X with Mask
The team at Bkav decided to test iPhone X’s Face ID vulnerability and built a special mask with the aim of tricking the depth-mapping technology. As per details, the mask uses a hand-crafted “skin” made specifically to fool Face ID, while 3D printing produced the face model. The nose was made by a handmade artist. Other parts, such as the eyes were made from 2D images. The proof of concept appears to work, as you can see in the video below:
We know that iPhone X has been trained for a real person’s face, however, the team used mask built by 3D and 2D images quite similar to a real face to unlock the phone. Although the video shows Face ID working in one try but it is not clear how many false attempts Bkav had made before producing a mask that worked smoothly. However, according to security firm, it took 5 days at a cost of around $150 to do the job.
A Boy of 10 Unlocks iPhone X
In another such happening, a family from Staten Island, New York posted a YouTube video showing a 10-year-old boy unlocking his mom’s new iPhone X with Face ID. The family posted a video yesterday on YouTube where Ammar Malik, the kid, looks at her mother’s iPhone for a second or two, before unlocking Sana Sherwani’s phone with his face. The video comprises of 41-second and the family has been successful in unlocking iPhone X.
Is Face ID Feature Really Vulnerable?
So, a simple question arises here; Is this a practical security concern? The answer is “not necessarily”. Because Bkay admitted that the efforts involved to make this type of mask are difficult to work for a normal user. If someone is so determined to get on your phone that they build a custom mask and have the opportunity to use it, then you must be a celebrity or a politician.
On the other hand, Mr. Attaulah Malik, father of young kid acknowledged that his son’s face cannot always unlock his mother’s phone. Mr. Malik says, “We know how to reproduce the issue under certain lighting conditions in one of our bedrooms. We’ll be testing it out in other lighting conditions.”
With Face ID, Apple has launched a grand experiment in a form of biometric security previously untested at this scale. For the most part, that gamble has paid off. As the iPhone X doesn’t even support fingerprint scanner so the only option remains in critical cases for you is to use your good old passcode.
Apple has already mentioned this probability on its support page about twins and siblings that look like you and among children under the age of 13. As their distinct facial features may not have fully developed, so they might unlock your phone easily.
Security and privacy are important to all of us to protect information on our devices. Apple’s Face ID uses the TrueDepth camera and machine learning for a secure authentication solution, but if this couldn’t help users and such cases appear frequently then the company is close to facing a disaster.