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Nov 13, 2017 05:05 PM IST | Source:

Yet another iPhone X Face ID fail: This time Vietnamese tech experts crack it with a mask

This is not the first attempt at decoding the Face ID, there have been other ones as well, but this is by far the cheapest technique used to unlock an iPhone X by fooling the Face ID

Apple’s introduction of the iPhone X’s Face ID set off an immediate race among hackers about who was going to be the first to fool the company’s advanced face recognition phone authentication system.

A week later, a group of hackers claim to have successfully duplicated someone’s face to unlock his iPhone X – with a rather sketchy technique which few security researchers believed will be possible.

Vietnamese security firm Bkav released a blog post where they said that they had beaten Apple’s security measure with a simple technique: a silicone mask.

"The mask is crafted by combining 3D printing with makeup and 2D images, besides some special processing on the cheeks and around the face, where there are large skin areas, to fool AI of Face ID," said Ngo Tuan Anh, Bkav's Vice President of Cyber Security.

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The Bkav researchers used a basic silicone mask and 2D printed eyes to bypass the FaceID (Courtesy:

"Nose was made by a handmade artist. We use 2D printing for other parts (similar to how we tricked Face Recognition nine years ago). The skin was also hand-made to trick Apple's Artificial Intelligence," Bkav said in the blog post.

Face ID projects more than 30,000 invisible IR dots and claims to only unlock iPhone X when customers look at it and are designed to prevent spoofing by photos or masks, as specified by Apple previously.


“Apple has done this not so well”, writes the company, “Face ID can be foiled by a mask, which means it is not an effective security measure,” they said.

In a video posted on YouTube, one of the company’s staff pulls out a piece of cloth from a mounted mask facing an iPhone X on a stand, and the phone instantly unlocks.

The Bkav security experts who also posted a video on how they did this, said that Face ID can be fooled by a mask, which means, according to them, that it is not an effective security measure (Courtesy: Bkav on YouTube)

The researchers say that they were able to spoof the iPhone X’s 3D infrared mapping of the owner's face and its AI-driven modelling with a relatively basic mask - which had little more than some sculpted silicone, two-dimensional eyes and lips printed on paper.

There is a catch though: the researchers, however, admitted that the technique would still be requiring a detailed measurement or a digital scan of the face of the phone’s owner.

Hence, they rated their own hacking technique in the more sophisticated category as compared to an ordinary hack that an iPhone X user may be facing.

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The hacking group also suggested that future unlocks of prolific people owing the iPhone X may be based on quick smartphone scan of the victim’s face, a model created from photographs – but they did not mention any predictions about how easy they may be to engineer.

This is not the first attempt at decoding the Face ID, there have been other ones as well, but this is by far the cheapest technique that claims to have decoded the Face ID unlock.

Previously, a report by Mashable showed that Face ID was indeed unlockable in cases of identical twins.

In 2008, Bkav was the first company in the world to show that face recognition was not an effective security measure for laptops, right after Toshiba, Lenovo, Asus, etc. used this technology for their products.
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