iPhone X Face ID Again Unlocked With Mask, Even With 'Require Attention' Turned On

Since the iPhone X launched earlier this month, people have been attempting to fool Face ID, the new biometric facial recognition feature built into the device as a primary security feature. Face ID has thus far been tricked by twins, children, and even a mask.

Vietnamese security company Bkav made headlines in mid-November after uploading a video featuring Face ID accessed by a mask, but there were several questions about the unlocking methods used in the video, including whether "Require Attention" was turned on. Today, Bkav shared a second video with a new mask and a clearer look at how the mask was used to spoof Face ID.


As described in an accompanying blog post, Bkav used a 3D printed mask made of stone powder, which cost approximately $200 to produce. 2D infrared images of eyes were then taped over the mask to emulate real eyes.

Bkav reset Face ID on camera and then set it up anew with the demonstrator's face. "Require Attention for Face ID" and "Attention Aware Features" were both shown to be enabled on the iPhone X. For those unaware, "Require Attention for Face ID" is meant to add an extra layer of security by requiring you to look at your iPhone to use Face ID, and it's one of the features that's supposed to prevent Face ID from unlocking with a mask, with a photograph, or when you're looking away from your phone.

After activating Face ID, the Bkav demonstrator unlocks the iPhone X normally with his own face, and then unlocks it once again with the mask. The mask appears to be able to unlock the iPhone X right away, with no failed attempts and no learning, as Face ID was set up from scratch just before the test. The mask's 2D infrared eyes also appear to fool the "Require Attention for Face ID" setting.

bkavfaceidmask
Bkav claims the materials and tools used to create the mask are "casual for anyone" and that Face ID is "not secure enough to be used in business transactions," but it's worth noting that fooling Face ID in this way requires a 3D printer, several hundred dollars worth of materials, physical access to a person's iPhone X, and detailed facial photographs that can be used to reconstruct a person's face. Even then, if the 3D printed mask and the design of the infrared eyes aren't perfect, Face ID will fail after five attempts.

Bkav believes Face ID is less secure than Touch ID because it's easier to capture photographs from afar than it is to obtain a fingerprint, but this is still a very complex replication process that the average user does not need to be concerned with.

Bkav researchers said that making 3D model is very simple. A person can be secretly taken photos in just a few seconds when entering a room containing a pre-setup system of cameras located at different angles. Then, the photos will be processed by algorithms to make a 3D object.

It can be said that, until now, Fingerprint is still the most secure biometric technology. Collecting a fingerprint is much harder than taking photos from a distance.

Apple's Face ID security white paper [PDF] outlines several scenarios where Face ID has a higher probability of being fooled, including with twins, siblings that look alike, and children under the age of 13, but masks are of particular interest because Face ID features a neural network that was "trained to spot and resist spoofing" to protect against "attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks." From Apple:

Face ID matches against depth information, which isn't found in print or 2D digital photographs. It's designed to protect against spoofing by masks or other techniques through the use of sophisticated anti-spoofing neural networks. Face ID is even attention-aware.

When Touch ID, Face ID's predecessor, was first released in the iPhone 5s in 2013, there were many similar demonstrations of how it could be fooled with a fake fingerprint, but there's little evidence that these methods were ever used to unlock devices in the real world on a wide scale basis, and it turned out to be something most iPhone users did not need to worry about. The same is likely true of Face ID.

Apple has made several improvements to Touch ID over the years, making it faster and more accurate, and similar improvements will undoubtedly be made to Face ID in the future. In the meantime, while Face ID can be fooled by a twin or a complicated facial replication process, it's largely secure for most users and has received mostly positive reviews for its security and ease of use.

Tag: Face ID
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

alphaswift Avatar
52 months ago
X owner here. Am I worried? No.
Score: 115 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skywalkerr69 Avatar
52 months ago
“" but it's worth noting that fooling Face ID in this way requires a 3D printer, several hundred dollars worth of materials, physical access to a person's iPhone X, and detailed facial photographs that can be used to reconstruct a person's face.”

If someone wants to go through all of this just to get into my phone. I would be so flattered I would just hand it to them unlocked.
Score: 109 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gsmornot Avatar
52 months ago
I will bet you that you cannot, no matter how good your mask is, unlock my iPhone. (I have an 8 Plus)
Score: 79 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TiggrToo Avatar
52 months ago
Acid test. Give these guys a locked phone that they have no other access to, and a few minutes with an independent test subject, and let's see how successful they are given just FIVE attempts before the X disables the feature and requires a pass code instead.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TiggrToo Avatar
52 months ago
To be fair, it sounds like these guys enjoyed an unfettered access to the phone and probably had hundreds of failures before this one mask worked. Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't the X disable Face ID after 6 odd failures (not got an X myself but I assumed it was the same logic as TouchID)?
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MR-LIZARD Avatar
52 months ago
It’s a technically interesting exercise but requires such a level of access to detailed photographs that it’s a non-issue.

My house has doors and windows that could be broken with no technical skills. They all do. I’m not going to be moving house.

I’m not going to be ditching my X or deactivating Face ID.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
2017 apple tv

Cyber Monday: Original Apple TV 4K Drops to $99.99 for Amazon Prime Members

Monday November 29, 2021 12:01 pm PST by
We've been tracking Apple product and accessory deals for Cyber Monday 2021 today, and now Woot is offering a solid discount on the previous generation 32GB Apple TV 4K. You can get this device in new condition for just $99.99 if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that this sale will last for one day only. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
apple top apps games 2020

Apple Reveals the Most Downloaded iOS Apps and Games of 2021

Thursday December 2, 2021 12:05 am PST by
Along with naming its editorial picks for the top apps and games of 2021, Apple today shared charts for the most downloaded free and paid apps and games in the United States across 2021. The number one most downloaded free iPhone app was TikTok, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. The top paid iPhone apps included Procreate Pocket, HotSchedules, The Wonder Weeks, and Touch...
Mac Notebook Upgrade Program

Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program for Business Partners

Monday November 29, 2021 7:38 am PST by
In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers. As outlined on CIT's website, shared by Max Weinbach, Apple Business Partners can distribute the 13-inch MacBook Pro,...
airpods prototype translucent

Transparent AirPods and 29W Power Adapter Prototypes Surface in Photos

Tuesday November 30, 2021 7:16 am PST by
Images of transparent prototype AirPods and a 29W Apple power adapter have been shared on Twitter by Apple device collector Giulio Zompetti. The prototypes, which appear to be either first-generation or second-generation AirPods, feature clear plastic along the stem and around the outer side of the earbud, with the normal white plastic on the inner side of the earbud. Transparent casings are ...
apple view concept right corner

Apple Planning to Replace the iPhone With AR Headset in 10 Years

Wednesday December 1, 2021 2:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality (AR) headset in 10 years, a process that is apparently due to start as soon as next year with the launch of a head-mounted device, according to a recent report. Concept render of Apple's rumored AR headset by Antonio De Rosa In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, eminent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained that "Apple's goal is...