Nov 13, 2017 | By Benedict

3D printing has been used to bypass Apple’s new Face ID security system on the iPhone X. Vietnamese security firm Bkav made a 3D printed mask with silicone features in order to trick Face ID into unlocking an iPhone.

It’s surprising just how often 3D printing is used to test and ultimately crack established security systems. Whether it’s an infamous 3D printed copy of a TSA master key or a 3D printed turtle designed to mess with Google’s AI vision, additive manufacturing is helping members of the public spot the flaws in major security systems—before it’s too late!

The latest instance of 3D printing being used to thwart an expensive and widely implemented security feature comes courtesy of Bkav, a security firm that has used an elaborate 3D printed mask to “trick” the new iPhone X into unlocking itself.

The 3D printed mask, which also has silicone features and 2D images pasted onto it, was used to thwart Apple’s Face ID phone unlock system, a new feature incorporated into the iPhone X to supposedly provide a more convenient unlock option than the current fingerprint and password options.

But it seems that Face ID might not be infallible, from a security perspective. Over the course of around five days, Bkav was able to fabricate a 3D printed frame for the mask, in addition to handcrafted fake skin and simple 2D images of eyes and lips, all of which were designed to mimic the appearance of the actual iPhone user, whose real face was logged into the iPhone’s security system.

The nose of the mask was made with silicone.

All this cost Bkav just $150, though the security firm pointed out that you’d need a pretty thorough understanding of how facial recognition software works to attempt the trickery yourself. (Bkav itself has being doing this for years, having previous cracked webcam security features of Lenovo, Toshiba, and Asus laptops.)

“It is quite hard to make the 'correct' mask without certain knowledge of security,” Bkav explains. “We were able to trick Apple's AI…because we understood how their AI worked and how to bypass it.”

Ultimately, the company thinks this probably means that regular iPhone X users aren’t at a high risk of having their phone hacked into by mischievous intruders armed with 3D printers and fake noses. The exercise does, however, offer a warning sign to those whose iPhones might be under serious risk of theft—politicians, for example.

These users might want to take extra steps beyond Face ID if they want their device fully protected.

“Potential targets shall not be regular users, but billionaires, leaders of major corporations, [and] nations’ leaders,” Bkav says. “Security units' competitors, commercial rivals of corporations, and even nations might benefit from our proof of concept.”

Depending on your level of loyalty to Apple, Bkav’s discovery might not have a whole lot of influence on whether or not you buy the iPhone X, but it’s handy to know that the Face ID feature isn’t totally robust.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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