Newstalk
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12.34 13 Nov 2017


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Cybersecurity researchers have claimed they can fool the iPhone X's Face ID feature with a simple mask.

Face ID allows iPhone X users to unlock their phone just by looking at it.

Reviews of the phone widely noted issues with the feature, which uses infrared light to map users' faces and unlock the phone when the correct owner is looking at it.

On its release, the system was billed as the most secure biometric security system ever put into a smartphone.

Biometric security

Now, hackers at Vietnamese cybersecurity firm Bkav say that the biometric security feature is less secure than Apple has suggested - and claimed to have fooled it with a mask made from $150 (£114) in supplies.

Back in 2016, the FBI paid more than $1m to a non-government party to hack into the phone of the San Bernadino shooter.

Bkav's claims come despite Apple's statement that the engineering team had collaborated with "professional mask makers and make-up artists in Hollywood to protect against these attempts to beat Face ID."

Mr Ngo Tuan Anh, the company's vice president of cybersecurity, said the team created the mask using a combination of "3D printing with make-up and 2D images" to dupe the facial recognition system.

It is not known however whether the researchers had disabled Apple's Attention Aware feature, and what effect that may have had on the mask's success in fooling Face ID.

"After nearly 10 years of development, face recognition is not mature enough to guarantee security for computers and smartphones," the researchers warned.

Face mask

The frame of the face was created with 3D printing, with the nose being produced by a third-party artist and moulded in silicone.

Other than that, the eyes were represented with printed 2D images, with a little extra special processing done on the cheeks and other areas of the face where there are large areas of skin.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company's researchers said that the iPhone X's fingerprint sensor was the most secure biometric security feature.


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