HANOI (Reuters) – A researcher in Vietnam has demonstrated how he apparently fooled Apple Inc’s face recognition ID software on its new iPhone X using a mask made with a 3D printer, silicone and paper tape.
An announcement on Friday by Bkav, a Vietnamese cybersecurity firm, that it had cracked Apple’s Face ID, and a subsequent video apparently showing an iPhone being unlocked when pointed at a mask, were greeted with some skepticism.
Ngo Tuan Anh, Bkav’s vice president, gave Reuters several demonstrations, first unlocking the phone with his face and then by using the mask. It appeared to work each time.
However, he declined to register a user ID and the mask on the phone from scratch because, he said, the iPhone and mask need to be placed at very specific angles, and the mask to be refined, a process he said could take up to nine hours.
Apple declined to comment, referring journalists to a page on its website that explains how Face ID works.
That page says the probability of a random person unlocking another user’s phone with their face was approximately 1-in-a-million, compared to 1-in-50,000 for the previously used fingerprint scanner. It also says Face ID allows only five unsuccessful match attempts before a passcode is required.
Anh acknowledged that preparing the mask wasn’t easy, but he said he believed the demonstration showed facial recognition as a way to authenticate users would be risky for some.