Apple recently released perhaps, the greatest and the most revolutionary piece of tech in the smartphone industry, the iPhone X. Apple touts Face ID as the most secure personal authentication process. There’s one chance in a million for someone else’s face to unlock your device, Apple said on stage and in a white paper describing Face ID. But is it as secure as Apple claims it to be?
Apple has admitted that false positives are likely with “twins and siblings who look-alike”. But a video on YouTube suggests that family members who bear some resemblance may also be able to trick the iPhone X’s Face ID. The mother in the video explains that her 10-year-old son was able to unlock her phone even though the Face ID was set up for her face. The son was able to unlock his mother’s phone right after it was set up. Notably, he was also able to unlock his father’s iPhone X as well, according to a Wired report.
This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that the Face ID technology continually updates the mathematical expression of your face to adjust for changes in appearance. That’s why you’ll be able to unlock the phone even after you grow a beard or wear spectacles. But that’s also why it’ll think that your kid is you. It’s also why young twins can hack it in this manner, something that we saw in other test videos.
Adding to Apple’s woes, there have been reports of some high-profile hacks of Face ID. The most prominent is Bkav, a Vietnamese security company that posted a story on its blog Friday with a video purportedly showing how they fooled Face ID. The researchers at Bkav were able to fool the it using an elaborate mask worth about $150. The researchers created a 3D printed mask of the expert’s face made of stone powder which was used for the hack. Infrared images of the person’s eyes were printed on paper and glued onto the facial model to trick the iPhone X’s infrared camera into thinking real eyes were looking at it.
Apple, which is seeing strong sales of the iPhone X since its November 2 debut, acknowledges some of the short-comings of Face ID in its security guide pertaining the false positives. Apple’s Face ID is secure enough for the general masses, although it maybe deemed as not secure enough to be used in business transactions. With future updates Apple can make Face ID more secure and a true fool-proof authentication system that everyone dreamt of.