Face ID Tricked By A $150 Mask: Should iPhone X Owners Worry?


A Vietnamese security firm tricked the Face ID security feature of the iPhone X using an elaborate mask, proving Apple wrong on the matter.

Apple tried to inspire confidence in Face ID through a technical white paper released in late September. However, reports such as this, along with the recent allegations that even the face of a sibling of a different age can beat Face ID, may start making iPhone X owners and potential customers worried.

iPhone X Tricked By A Mask

In an online post, security firm Bkav claimed that Face ID is not an effective security measure, and explained how it was able to beat the feature using an elaborate mask.

Apple said that it worked with professional mask makers and make-up artists to ensure that Face ID could not be tricked by masks. Bkav, however, took a different approach. Instead of making a realistic mask, the security firm crafted an elaborate mask with the sole purpose of beating Face ID and the iPhone X's depth mapping technology.

Bkav claimed that it had been studying Apple's artificial intelligence system so it knows how to bypass Face ID. The security firm created a mask with a 3D-printed frame, which was then filled in with hand-crafted "skin" and other 3D-printed parts. The mask also features a silicone nose and 2D images for some components such as the eyes. Bkav spent about $150 on the mask, and it took the security firm five days from when it received an iPhone X unit to create a mask that tricked Face ID.

Should iPhone X Owners Be Worried?

A demonstration video uploaded by Bkav showed that the mask it created can really trick the Face ID and unlock the iPhone X. The security firm then claimed that the feature is not as secure as Apple said.

Does this mean that iPhone X owners should worry? Well, that depends on who you are.

Bkav admitted that its discovery is not a concern for regular users, but rather for public figures such as politicians and celebrities. The effort of creating the perfect mask to unlock the iPhone X, in addition to having to actually steal the smartphone in the first place, requires a significant payoff that will not be achieved when the victim is a private individual. If there is a criminal who really wants to access your iPhone X, you have a much bigger security problem than whether Face ID will hold up.

In any case, it appears that Apple remains confident enough in its Face ID feature that it will be used in all 2018 iPhone models and a new iPad also coming out next year.

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