iPhone X Face ID beaten with 3D-printed mask

With its new flagship iPhone X, Apple has touted just secure the device's Face ID technology is, and for the most part it's been a hit, with relatively few reports of the system not working properly or letting the wrong person unlock the phone. The security researchers at Bkav, however, have gone to great lengths to thwart the facial recognition technology, to see what it would take. Turns out they've found success using a strange-looking 3D-printed mask.

As detailed in their video below, Bkav's method involved focusing on tricking Face ID's depth-mapping technology. The researchers say the iPhone X was first trained with a real person's face, and that no hacks or software cheats were involved. The mask was created by 3D-printing the face model and then using a special "skin" material that Face ID would recognize, while the eye portions are nothing more than 2D images.

"The mask is crafted by combining 3D printing with makeup and 2D images, besides some special processing on the cheeks and around the face, where there are large skin areas, to fool AI of Face ID," said Bkav vice president Ngo Tuan Anh.

The mask is said to have cost approximately $150 in supplies, excluding the 3D printer, of course, and took about five days to complete. Bkav admits that the project is too far from practical for average iPhone X users to be worried about, as it's unlikely someone is going to go to these lengths to look at some private photos or email.

However, the security firm feels that as a biometric security tool, Face ID relies too much on artificial intelligence, and that fingerprint scanners are much closer to foolproof. Typical users may not have much to be concerned about, but when it comes to political leaders or high-profile celebrities and business executives, Face ID may not be enough of a security measure.