Apple's much-vaunted Face ID system in the new iPhone X has
been hacked, according to a Vietnamese security firm.
The hackers used a 3D printer to make a mask that beat the facial recognition software and it cost just $150 (£115) to make, blowing a huge hole in one of the major selling points of the new Apple device.
WATCH THE IPHONE X FACE ID FAIL:
"It is quite hard to make the 'correct' mask without certain knowledge of security. We were able to trick Apple's AI," wrote Vietnamese security company Bkav on its website.
"Because we understood how their AI worked and how to bypass it...we were the first to show that face recognition was not an effective security measure for laptops."
Credit: PA Images
Bkav managed to crack the software by creating a mask that
exploited problems within the face recognition software.
The bods explained that they were able to do it because of flaws that are important to the functionality of the device itself.
"The first point is, everything went much more easily than you expect," they wrote. "You can try it out with your own iPhone X, the phone shall recognise you even when you cover a half of your face.
"It means the recognition mechanism is not as strict as you think, Apple seems to rely too much on Face ID's AI. We just need a half face to create the mask. It was even simpler than we ourselves had thought."
Credit: PA Images
The mask itself posed a few more problems, but none that were
difficult to overcome.
"The mask is crafted by combining 3D printing with makeup and 2D images, besides some special processing on the cheeks and around the face, where there are large skin areas, to fool AI of Face ID," said Ngo Tuan Anh, Bkav's Vice President of Cyber Security.
This is a real middle finger to the claims made by Apple at the launch of the iPhone X back in September 2017.
"They (Apple engineering teams) have even gone and worked with professional mask makers and makeup artists in Hollywood to protect against these attempts to beat Face ID. These are actual masks used by the engineering team to train the neural network to protect against them in Face ID. It's incredible!", said Apple's Senior Vice President Phil Schiller when the product was first launched.
Bkav said that the hack would not particularly affect the
average user, but would present a problem for high-profile users such as
corporate heads or business leaders.
"Potential targets shall not be regular users, but billionaires, leaders of major corporations, nation leaders and agents like FBI need to understand the Face ID's issue," they said.
It's probably time to grow a beard.