Bkav, a security firm based in Vietnam, has disclosed that it has been able to unlock an iPhone X using an elaborately designed face mask. This is despite Apple’s claims that Face ID, its facial recognition system, is more secure than Touch ID, which uses fingerprints to unlock. According to Bkav, it cost the firm approximately $150 to create the mask.

“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 the AI of Face ID,” said Ngo Tuan Anh, the Cyber Security vice president at Bkav.

Detailed measurements

The security researchers at Bkav however admitted that crafting the mask required taking detailed measurements of the owner of the device. A seasoned artist was also hired to construct the nose. Consequently it is the view of the researchers that this security flaw is only a danger for high-profile people and is unlikely to be used on the average person due to the amount of time and effort used. Between crafting the mask and unlocking the iPhone X it took the security researchers five days. Additionally anyone looking to unlock the iPhone X this way would need physical access to the device since it impossible to thwart Face ID remotely.

According to Bkav some of the people likely to be targeted through the spoofing technique include agents of high-profile crime bursting organisations such as the FBI, presidents, prime ministers, captains of industry, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires.

Face ID on the iPad

This comes in the wake of reports indicating that Apple is developing a premium iPad which will be released next year which will use the facial recognition security system. Face ID on the iPad would replace the home button and just like in the iPhone X would be used in sending animated emojis, making payments and unlocking the device.

Getting rid of the home button will enable the iPad to enjoy a larger screen area since the size of the bottom and top edges will be removed. After months of decline, sales of the iPad in the last quarter increased by 14% to reach a figure of $4.8 billion. An iPad with Face ID will be the first revamp of the tablet since 2015.