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November 15, 2017

Face ID is fooled again as 10-year-old unlocks mom’s iPhone X using his own face

by John_A

When the iPhone X was first announced, it was widely agreed that its most impressive feature was Face ID, which replaced the traditional way of unlocking your phone via Touch ID. While Apple reassured users that it was extremely secure and couldn’t be fooled, a recent video showing a 10-year-old unlocking his mother’s iPhone X proves otherwise.

In the video, the mother explains that even though she set up the facial recognition to her face specifically, her 10-year-old son is still able to unlock it with his. They then demonstrate both the mother unlocking her phone by looking at the screen, followed by her son doing the exact same thing. He points the iPhone X at the camera to show that it’s locked and then again, after staring at the screen, to prove it’s been unlocked.

Face ID uses a neural engine to map the contours and shape of your face in real time. Upon receiving your iPhone X, you’re prompted to set up your Face ID profile. Doing this involves rotating your head in a circular motion — twice — to capture all the different angles of your face.

Next, all you need to do is swipe up the lock screen while looking at your device and you’ll see the padlock icon unlock. Apple has said in the past that there is only a one-in-a-million chance someone can get around the system, and it can’t be confused by hairstyles, beards, or hats.

But the mother-son video shows otherwise. After handing the locked iPhone X off to her son, he was able to unlock it without any issues. It took him only a second to stare at the screen while simultaneously swiping up to reveal the home screen.

According to Wired, the son was able to unlock his mother’s phone after she first registered her face. But after re-registering her face, it no longer gave her son easy access to the device. To take the testing even further, she decided to replicate the same lighting as the first time she set up her Face ID profile and found that her son was able to unlock the phone again.

This isn’t the first time Face ID has been fooled. A video produced by the security firm Bkav shows Face ID being hacked by a mask. The mask in the video is intricately put together, with a silicone nose, specially crafted “skin”, and 3D-printed parts.

It’s important to note that with Face ID, you can only set up one Face ID profile per iPhone — unless you delete one and add another. But Apple recommends to never reset your Face ID, since Face ID’s performance improves the more you use it. Over time, it’s continually updating its model of you. After unlocking it consistently, it could be that the AI learned the young boy’s features, which allowed him access each time.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article with a response.

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