Mask fools Apple iPhone X's Face ID

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino California

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino California

But BKAV said that it "applied the strict rule of "absolutely no passcode" when crafting the mask", which would mean that the mask fooled Face ID in less than five attempts.

Video Apple's facial-recognition login system in its rather expensive iPhone X can be, it is claimed, fooled by a 3D printed mask, a couple of photos, and a blob of silicone.

But Bkav, the security firm, said hacking Face ID wasn't as hard, pointing out that the software would recognize the owner's face even if half-covered.

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". This - again, according to Apple - makes Face ID significantly more secure than the fingerprint-based Touch ID system it replaces, which had odds of being unlocked by a stranger of 50,000 to one.

It said the approximate cost of the mask was $150. It also used "special processing on the cheeks and around the face, where there are large skin areas, the firm said". Several users have pointed out that the Face ID lock icon at the top doesn't open when the phone is facing the mask.

Previously, the iPhone X found itself embroiled in a Face ID controversy when Bloomberg reported that Apple was reducing the accuracy of the Face ID recognition software to increase the supply of iPhone X devices.

Researchers at Bkav created the $150 mask shortly after obtaining the smartphone on 5 November.

Face ID allows users to unlock their iPhone X by looking at it, then make purchases from the Apple store or conduct other Apple Pay transactions using stored payment card data. If you're concerned that someone might want into your devices badly enough that they'd execute such an involved plan to steal your facial biometrics, well, you've probably got a lot of other things to worry about as well.

"Potential targets shall not be regular users, but billionaires, leaders of major corporations, nation leaders, and agents like Federal Bureau of Investigation need to understand the Face ID's issue", the Bkav researchers write.

Tech giant Apple is planning on bringing out a new and improved iPad that will incorporate several of the key features of the iPhone X.

Expect Apple to issue an update for the Face ID software or new generations of the iPhone with hardware created to block these circumvention techniques.

Until biometrics can be made ideal, Woodward recommends users rely on tried-and-true security defenses.

The researchers also don't expect such a technique to be used against the everyday iPhone X user.

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