A 10-year-old kid was able to use his face to unlock his mother's iPhone X, raising fresh concerns on the security of Apple's Face ID feature.
Apple is rumored to be planning three iPhone models next year, all of them with the bezel-less iPhone X design and Face ID. The security feature, however, will need to win over the trust of customers before then.
Son Unlocks Mom's iPhone X Using His Face
Attaullah Malik uploaded a video that demonstrated how his 10-year-old son, Ammar Malik, was able to unlock the iPhone X of his wife, Sana Sherwani, through the Face ID feature.
According to Apple, there is a roughly one in 1 million chance that a random person will be able to unlock somebody else's iPhone X using their face. However, things are different in the cases of twins, siblings, and children under the age of 13 years old.
Malik expressed concern that his son was able to access Sherwani's iPhone X in an interview with Wired. The parents do not want to disable Face ID due to its convenience, but the concern for privacy remains very real.
When Malik and Sherwani were asked to re-register their faces on the Face ID feature of their respective iPhone X units, the results were varying. Their son was able to unlock his mother's smartphone in the third and sixth attempts.
Should iPhone X Owners Be Concerned?
The experiment that Wired suggested for Malik and Sherwani to do revealed that iPhone X owners should not really worry about random people being able to break through Face ID security.
The prevailing theory is that, as the 10-year-old kept using his face to try to unlock the iPhone X, Sherwani's usage of the password made the smartphone train itself on her son's face.
Part of the Face ID's capabilities is that, if it does not recognize the user but a certain threshold is met and the password is entered immediately, the system will learn new data and combine it with what is stored inside the iPhone X. This means that the Face ID data of Sherwani's son was likely combined with hers, making it much easier for her son to unlock the iPhone X using his face.
This is the same thing that happened with the cases of brothers beating Face ID and the reason why iPhone X owners do not need to worry that the facial recognition system is vulnerable. A Vietnamese security firm claimed that a mask tricked Face ID, but it involved a lot of preparation and was impractical to use on regular people.