Questions Arising From the Apple Face ID Hack

Face ID is one of the more talked-about features of the new iPhone. Like its name suggests, it is a facial recognition system that can provide security to interested individuals, which is important because such technologies tend to be much more challenging to hack than password protection. However, it is interesting to note that a research team called Bkav has claimed that they have hacked Apple’s Face ID, which has caused some concern in a number of interested parties.

For those who are curious, Bkav claimed to have broken through Face ID by using a mask created with both 2D and 3D pictures of a person as well as other tools and supplies. Examples of said tools and supplies include but are not limited to a hand-sculpted piece, consumer-level 2D printing, and consumer-level 3D printing. In total, the tools and supplies added up to $150, which explains why the claim is causing so much concern in some of those who have heard it. With that said, consumers should not panic for the time being, seeing as how there are both reasons to believe and reasons to not believe in Bkav’s claim.

What Are the Reasons to Believe in the Claim?

Bkav is not a random name. In fact, it has been involved with research into the weaknesses of facial recognition systems in the past, as shown by the fact that it has published a paper on said vulnerabilities in Asus, Lenovo, and Toshiba tech in 2009. As a result, it is not wholly unbelievable that it might have stumbled upon something that other researchers have not been able to replicate so far.

What Are the Reasons to Not Believe in the Claim?

With that said, there are a number of reasons to be skeptical about what Bkav is claiming. For starters, they don’t seem to have revealed detailed information about how they accomplished their aim to the relevant parties, with Apple being chief among them. As a result, there is no real way for independent parties to confirm whether their efforts in hacking Face ID were successful or not by testing their method on their own. Furthermore, it should be noted that other researchers have been making similar efforts to break through Face ID with no success so far, with an excellent example being an attempt conducted by Wired and Cloudflare using much more sophisticated masks than what Bkav claims to have used.

Should You Be Concerned about the Claim?

Speaking bluntly, most consumers should not be too concerned about whether Bkav was successful in hacking Face ID or not. As Bkav pointed out, their method cannot succeed without a substantial investment of resources, which doesn’t refer to the $150 in tools and supplies but rather the fact that it needs both 2D and 3D pictures of the person in addition to their actual iPhone. Never mind the fact that the hypothetical hacker would need the relevant expertise and experience needed to replicate their method.

Simply put, this is not the sort of resources that most hackers can bring to bear. Instead, this would be limited to those who are planning to hack into the iPhones of officials, celebrities, executives, and other figures of note as opposed to random consumers. Something that is particularly true because hackers who want to break into the iPhones of normal consumers should have much less well-secured targets, which should be that much more tempting compared to those that have been secured using Face ID. After all, most hackers tend to be opportunistic, meaning that it makes more sense for them to hack the countless people out there who are much more careless with their password practices than they really should be.

Summed up, people with the new iPhone should not be too concerned about having hackers break through Face ID. First, Bkav has not presented sufficient evidence for its claim, which remains a matter of serious dispute at the moment. Second, even if Bkav’s claim is true, it is not unreasonable to expect that Apple will fix the problem at some point in the not so distant future, potentially with Bkav’s help in this matter. Whatever the case, people should not let this particular piece of news spook them using something that is much less secure than the new Face ID.


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