Face ID is fooled with a pair of glasses and tape

Posted Aug 11, 2019 by Steven Wilson.

Facial recognition technologies, no matter how advanced, can be abused. Face ID is no exception. 

The Apple Face ID system is touted by the Apple brand as one of the most secure security measures for your smartphone. Unlike fingerprints, which can be replicated or printed in 3D, Face ID can not be fooled by conventional devices such as wearing a mask or using a simple photograph. Unfortunately, it is still quite simple to override this protection. Researchers have just made the demonstration again, and with very little equipment.

Face ID is fooled with a pair of glasses and some scotch

Face ID is not invulnerable – no computer system is. In a report from Threapost, we learn that Tencent researchers have managed to bypass the Face ID protection system using only a pair of glasses and a little tape. The method used aims to fool the “detection of living” system. This allows Face ID to determine if the currently scanned face is a real face or a simple mask or photograph. By fixing black tape on a pair of glasses and placing it on the face of a person asleep or unconscious, the researchers were able to unlock the victim’s iPhone and send money via a mobile payment application.

It is still necessary that the victim is asleep and that you have their iPhone

Although the process is quite simple, the good news is that this method is still quite elaborate in that the hacker must have access to the victim on their phone and hope that the victim is asleep. In other words, there is little risk that the method will be used against you. Still, Apple will certainly want to find a way to further secure its Face ID to avoid this kind of circumvention. The system will certainly never be tamper-proof, but enhancing security at each iteration is always a good idea.

Steven Wilson

Steven is a hydroelectric engineer who often writes for The Windy Apple in his spare time. While he has always preferred Android over iOS and has never owned an Apple phone, he is nevertheless more than qualified to report on Apple and tech news in general given his life-long interest in this field. Steven has some Java programming experience, having assisted in writing a number of Android apps.

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