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Cybersecurity firm tricks Apple’s Face ID with a 3D printed mask

Face ID is pegged to be the future of smartphone security, with Apple leading the charge saying it may one day drop the tried-and-tested Touch ID in favour of it. This is far from a perfected piece of technology, however, as a cybersecurity firm has apparently tricked the protection protocol with 3D printed masks.

The device in question was Apple’s recent flagship, the iPhone X, in which security researchers at Bkav Corp trained the smartphone to unlock for the faces of real people only. This was done to prevent the tech learning the characteristics of the masks.

The masks were then made using an off-the-shelf 3D printer and $150-worth of materials,. While the shell was relatively easy to make using the printer, the skin-like materials were hand crafted with extensive arts and crafts to portray realistic features.

The final, rather scary, product only displays the nose, mouth and eyes including brows, while omitting other details such as, well, the rest of the face. These were the only features required to accurately breach the device.

It is questionable as to how much of a security risk this poses, with the extensive time and effort placed to break into one person’s smartphone. This also requires cooperation of the victim in order to accurately construct a way around what is otherwise a secure protection protocol.

That being said, Apple does address that, while secure, Face ID does not guarantee the safety of its users. “An additional neural network that’s trained to spot and resist spoofing defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks,” says the company.

In this respect, the researchers suggest that Face ID should not be used by CEOs or presidents in case such an elaborate attack is ever to be planned.

KitGuru Says: While this is unlikely to affect any day-to-day user of Face ID, it does mean that Apple can build upon these findings to further progress the security offered by the technology. Do you prefer Face ID or the current mainstay, Touch ID?

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