If the Google Pixel 2 has bugs as its main pain point, the iPhone X possibly has Face ID as its counterpart. Drowning out almost all other discussions about the iPhone X’s strengths and flaws, the industry seems to be largely interested in seeing whether Face ID is as secure as Apple touts it to be. According to Vietnamese security outfit Bkav, is absolutely isn’t. It has, in fact, raised the alarm level after successfully demonstrating how Face ID was instantly fooled by a new type of mask it dubbed the “artificial twin”.
Using a mask to trick Face ID is nothing new. Since Apple’s technology uses 3D and infrared sensors, flat pictures and selfies on phones will never work. Short of getting the owner’s head (which has to be alive), a mask is your best bet.
Even then, however, it’s not a sure thing. Even Bkav’s first attempts weren’t as sensational. Their first proof of concept took them nearly a day before it was able to fool Face ID, basically trying to retrain it to recognize the fake face. Similar attempts by others were also inconclusive.
This new attempt, Bkav claims, puts the nail in the coffin. They used a new type of mask that used stone powder to better replicated the texture of the user’s face. They then printed the infrared map of the user’s eyes, pretty much the same thing that Face ID sees using the TrueDepth camera. And voila! Instant unlock.
That said, the actual conclusions around this is still far from settled. On the one hand, many will argue that an unauthorized person will need to have access to the iPhone X, a faithful 3D recreation of your mask, and an infrared image of your eyes. On the other hand, there are some elements, like government, who might have the power, and legal authority, to get exactly those.