Better keep your smartphones away from children: A 10-year-old boy managed to hack Apple’s revolutionary face recognition software on the first try.
A US family has just shown how easily their son tricked the TrueDepth camera of his mother’s new iPhone X. In a video, shared by Attaullah Malik to YouTube on November 14, Ammar, who is only 10, demonstrates his effortless attempt to unlock the smartphone using Face ID, which was previously set up for the face of his mom, Sana Sherwani.
As the stunned parents told Wired, they conducted this experiment several times, and the boy unlocked his mother’s smartphone with permanent success. Interestingly, when Sherwani reregistered her face in Face ID under different lighting, Ammar lost access to her iPhone.
The child also managed to “hack” his dad’s iPhone too, but only once. Malik found that especially puzzling: “People generally say he looks more like me,” he admitted.
At first it was funny but then the family started to worry. “My wife and I text all the time and there might be something we don’t want [our son] to see. Now my wife has to delete her texts when there’s something she doesn’t want Ammar to look at,” said the confused father, who works as the director of technology operations at a tech firm.
According to Apple, Face ID is safer than Touch ID. In a Face ID Security Guide released in November, the company warned that the “undeveloped facial features” of children under the age of 13 might cause problems with Face ID. Issues can also occur with relatives that look alike.
In early November, enthusiasts from Vietnamese cybersecurity company Bkav demonstrated how to fool iPhone X’s Face ID using a mask made with a 3D printer, silicone and paper tape. In another recent experiment, Face ID could not distinguish one twin from the other.
In some cases, it just takes users several attempts to unlock their phones. This happened to Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi at the Face ID debut during the iPhone X presentation on September 12. Bearded people, who registered with Face ID and then decided to get rid of facial hair, also have to try a couple of times and confirm with the passcode before the phone’s technology will recognize their shaved face.
Moreover, iPhone X would recognize its owner only if all key areas of the face — eyes, nose and mouth — can be seen clearly. According to some reports, sometimes the gadget didn’t unlock until the user looked directly at the module on the front camera.