Apple’s Face ID is Vulnerable

Photo Courtesy: Macworld

Chirag Mehrotra/Correspondent

On Sept. 12, 2017, tech company Apple announced its latest version of the iPhone series, the iPhone X. The new iPhone made a huge shift from its predecessors since the X has gotten rid of the home button and the power button. To unlock the iPhone, the user simply raises the phone to the eye level and the Face ID recognition software projects 30,000 invisible infrared (IR) dots on their face. This allows the software to create a map of the user’s face that it stores in its A11 bionic chip and compares future maps against the original map. Apple claims there is a 1 in 1,000,000 chance that someone would be able to open your phone using Face ID when compared to 1 in 50,000 chance of having the same fingerprint as the user. It all sounds reassuring when the user is attempting to protect his privacy on their iPhone. However, researchers from Vietnam have found a deceptive method to unlock the iPhone using Face ID.

The researchers made use of a 3D printer and created a mask that cost them $150. “Nose was made by a handmade artist. We use 2D printing for other parts. The skin was also hand-made to trick Apple’s Artificial Intelligence,” Bkav said in a blog post. “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. Many people in the world have tried different kinds of masks but all failed. It is because we understand how AI of Face ID works and how to bypass it.” said Ngo Tuan Anh, Bkav’s Vice President of Cyber Security. The researchers, therefore, claim that the face recognition is “not mature
enough to guarantee security for smartphones.”

According to the firm, Apple heavily banks on the artificial intelligence behind the software and thus that could lead to severe security breaches. “We just need half a face to create the mask. It was even simpler than we ourselves had thought,” Bkav said. Face ID can create massive problems if exploited by the wrong people and it can be as simple as wearing a mask of the user’s face.

Apple has to look at this discovery by the researchers and address the issues poised with their newest and most ambitious product, the iPhone X. Until Apple finds a solution to the Face ID dilemma, the firm suggests that fingerprints are the best tool for biometric safety.