Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

Mask fools Apple iPhone X's Face ID

Mask fools Apple iPhone X's Face ID

The mask is claimed to have cost around $150 to make, which seems cheap when you consider the effort and vast resources Apple put into developing the $999 iPhone X and its Face ID system. We also found that odd but were able to replicate the unusual behavior on an iPhone X unit Apple provided us.

If the notion that a $150-mask with far less detail could fool Face ID strains credulity, that healthy skepticism is probably merited.

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However, it is not yet known if the tablet too will have a "notch" up top like the iPhone X or if the new iPad will be water resistant or will allow wireless charging or not, reported The Verge. Sure, Apple's facial scanning system can be defeated, but only with a particularly freaky set of circumstances and specialist knowledge. Security researcher Marc Rogers told Wired that Bkav didn't mention how they registered the phone and trained on the owner's real face. The company may have purposefully done a poor job setting up Face ID so it was easier to trick, which would discredit the results. It said in a statement that an artist fashioned the mask's nose by hand and that artificial skin was also made by an artist. Security experts said that even if the system is infallible, Face ID introduces a new form of data collection and could be used by advertisers to track user's expressions.

What's registered on BKAV's iPhone X's Face ID? Remarkably, in spite of their fairly elaborate efforts - including "details like eyeholes created to allow real eye movement" and "thousands of eyebrow hairs inserted into the mask meant to look more like real hair" - Wired and Cloudflare didn't succeed. 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.

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Apple claims that the FaceID is foolproof and can't be hacked using a two-dimensional picture of the user to unlock the phone. In fact, during the iPhone X launch event at the Steve Jobs Center, Tim Cook even joked that unless an iPhone X user has an evil twin, he will have no reason to worry about his security. BKAV said the potential targets wouldn't be people with average threat models, it would be "billionaires, leaders of major corporations, nation leaders".

To create their mask, they didn't use just one material, like silicone, but merged different techniques. The mask was made using some sculpted silicon, printer plastic, makeup and paper cutouts.

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These requirements to create the mask reach such a high standard that it seems like it would be nearly impossible to replicate this scenario in an actual attack.

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