Security Firm Claims to have Cracked iPhoneX's FaceID System

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino California

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino California

The latest instance of 3D printing being used to thwart an expensive and widely implemented security feature comes courtesy of Bkav, a security firm that has used an elaborate 3D printed mask to "trick" the new iPhone X into unlocking itself.

Facial recognition is the next iteration of biometric identification.

The company says potential targets of this type of attack could be "billionaires, leaders of major corporations, [national] leaders.". Apple also says Face ID uses artificial intelligence which is trained to spot spoofing attempts and resist them. The mask had sculpted silicone nose, two dimensional eyes and lips printed on paper which were mounted on a 3D printed plastic frame. It's not impossible, but that's an impressive amount of hurdles to jump in a short amount of time without using a password, as BKAV claimed. If you still find yourself in a situation where law enforcement agencies might attempt to get your iPhone X unlocked, you can disable the Face ID technology by pressing the lock button five times. Several users have pointed out that the Face ID lock icon at the top doesn't open when the phone is facing the mask.

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At the iPhone X launch event, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller had said, "Apple engineering teams have even gone and worked with professional mask makers and makeup artists in Hollywood to protect against attempts to beat Face ID". We use 2D printing for other parts (similar to how we tricked Face Recognition nine years ago). "You can try it out with your own iPhone X, the phone shall recognize you even when you cover a half of your face", the biz said in an advisory last updated on Saturday. However many have raised concerns as to how safe is Apple's face ID? There are at least a few ways the video could have been faked, the most obvious of which would be to just train Face ID on the mask itself before presenting it with the actual face likeness. "If convenience is more important, Face ID may be your choice".

Researchers at Bkav created the $150 mask shortly after obtaining the smartphone on 5 November.

Describing the demonstration as a "proof of concept", the mask used to bypass potentially millions of dollars in research and development by some of the most brilliant minds in Cupertino cost just $150 to make, and was constructed in just than ten days after Bkav obtained an iPhone X. The mask faces an iPhone X, which is placed on a stand.

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The researchers also don't expect such a technique to be used against the everyday iPhone X user.

However, this doesn't seem to be a widespread issue and reports are still mixed at this point, with some users claiming a noticeable slowdown, others say that their phones are working as fast as on day one.

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