Hackers Broke Through the iPhone X Face ID with a Mask

What was all that "one in a million" talk?

When Apple revealed the iPhone X way back in September, it declared there was a one in 1,000,000 chance its facial recognition software could be unlocked by the wrong person. Security companies and tech blogs around the world immediately accepted the challenge and got to work. Now, a Vietnamese security firm called Bkav claims it broke through the Face ID tech with nothing more than a cheap mask.'

Bkav claims that by using 3-D printing, makeup, paper, and a hand-molded silicon nose, it fashioned a mask that easily tricked the Face ID tech, Wired reports. And the mask isn't exactly a work of art—Bkav, which has a history of breaking through facial recognition security, just Frankensteined parts together until the phone unlocked. Even the eyes are two-dimensional, implying you don't need eye movement to unlock the phone. The company claims that because it understands how Apple uses AI—it knows that AI only needs half a face for recognition, for example—Bkav was able to do it in a week and a half with a mask it says only cost them $150.


"It was even simpler than we ourselves had thought," the company wrote in a blog post. The hack has not yet been tried and confirmed by another source.

Sure most people won't spend the time and energy to digitally scan your face and figure out 3-D printing to unlock your phone. It's far easier to simply trick you into looking at the screen, if they're really determined. But if Bkav's claims are true, it proves that the facial recognition software is "not an effective security measure." And for criminals with high-profile targets, like billionaires, CEOs, and government agents, 3-D printing might be worth the extra effort.

So if you're carrying state secrets or nuclear launch codes in the Notes app of your iPhone X, maybe stick to biometric fingerprint scanning. Bkav says it's still the safest security option.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Sarah Rense
Sarah Rense is the Lifestyle Editor at Esquire, where she covers tech, food, drinks, home, and more.
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