How Apple's iPhone X Face ID was beaten by a mask

While the iPhone X’s new form of device security, Face ID has been touted as the ultimate flagship, it has naturally become a target for hackers. A Vietnamese security group, Bkav claims to have cracked Apple’s facial recognition system using a replica face mask that combines printed 2D images with three-dimensional capabilities.

Bkav pulled this off using a consumer-level 3D printer, a hand-sculpted nose, normal 2D printing and a custom skin surface designed to trick the system, as contained in a video proof.

Apple on its part, appears to be pretty skeptical about the purported hack, as there are quite a few ways the video could have been faked, the obvious would be training Face ID with the mask prior to attempting the unlock.

The company, as if in anticipation of such maneuver, had quipped that Face ID matches against depth information, and isn’t available in print or 2D digital photographs. As it’s designed to protect against spoofing by masks or other techniques through the use of sophisticated anti-spoofing neural networks.

It doesn't really matter whether Apple Face ID "learns" new images of the face, since it will not affect the claim that Apple Face ID is not an effective security measure.

Bkav claims to have applied the strict rule of "absolutely no passcode" when crafting the mask, and to give a more persuasive result, given that Face ID will take additional captures over time and augment its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation.

The questions remain that no one knows how legitimate this purported hack really is, and the iPhone X would have locked after just five failed trials to unlock using Face ID, but it’s unclear how many times Bkav made an attempt.

Additionally, the Face ID is attention-aware and recognizes if your eyes are open and looking towards the device, thus making it more difficult for someone to unlock your iPhone even when you are sleeping.

The group, however did not share its findings with Apple, albeit no official statement has been made acknowledging or rejecting the claims by Apple.
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