Technology

A Face ID hack possible on the iPhone X?

EPA-EFE / RITCHIE B. TONGO

A Vietnamese cybersecurity company claims it managed to trick the facial recognition technology in the iPhone X by constructing a mask. In a Q and A article on its website, Bkav Corp. said its engineers managed to unlock the device with a disguise made of makeup, two-dimensional images and 3D printed material. They assert that the purpose of the experiment is “proof of concept,” designed to establish evidence for the principle. The team added the reason behind its test is to show how easy it was to unlock an iPhone X. It took six days and a total of $150 in expenses to create the mask, according to the info shared with the public.

On the other hand, in a technical white paper on Face ID, Apple Inc. stated it has developed a “facial matching neural networks using over a billion images, including IR (infrared) and depth images collected in studies conducted with the participants’ informed consent.” In addition, the study which resulted in the solution’s development included the participation of individuals of various gender, ethnicity and age. The technology is designed to work with glasses, contact lenses, hats, scarves and even diverse types of sunglasses.

Bkav’s attempt to hack Apple’s system is not the first of its kind. Recently, Wired collaborated with Cloudflare in order to test Face ID with masks. Although the false faces were much more sophisticated, the media outlet team was unsuccessful. A few days prior, WSJ’s Joanna Stern attempted the same during her review of the device, getting mixed results with the use of pictures, masks and even identical triplets.

Apple: The technology is designed to work with glasses, contact lenses, hats, scarves and even diverse types of sunglasses.

A few important issues remain open to debate. Firstly, there is a possibility the firm’s video was directed in such a manner to fake the results. Secondly, all of the attempts to test the technology are very much elaborate, making the results of the trials indecisive. And, finally, as stated by Bkav, should hacking of Face ID prove possible, this becomes a consequential issue for Apple. Not for average users, but rather potential targets such as heads of major corporations and political leaders.

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