A week after iPhone X was released, hackers claim to have successfully duplicated someone’s face to unlock his iPhone X.
On Friday, Vietnamese security firm Bkav released a blog post and video showing that—by all appearances—they’d cracked Face ID with a composite mask of 3-D-printed plastic, silicone, makeup, and simple paper cutouts, which in combination tricked an iPhone X into unlocking. That demonstration, which has yet to be confirmed publicly by other security researchers, could poke a hole in the expensive security of the iPhone X, particularly given that the researchers say their mask cost just $150 to make.
On the other hand, this method wasn’t exactly as easy as the 90-second clip makes it seem. Bkav’s technique required taking a detailed, five-minute manual scan of the subject’s face, then hiring an artist to sculpt the fake nose and create the mask, a process that failed at least four times before it finally got it right. And although it’s troubling that Face ID appears to work even with flat, lifeless eyes—meaning hackers could potentially unlock the phone of someone who’s sleeping, incapacitated, or dead, or just up on current events—even Bkav acknowledges that the overall process would be incredibly time-consuming and require a lot of technical knowledge.
Given all that, Bkav concludes that this particular hacking method would really only be a plausible threat for “billionaires, leaders of major corporations, nation leaders, and agents like FBI” whose phones might actually be worth the elaborate heist-level of effort involved. So it seems the rest of us ordinary schlubs will just have to go back to worrying about thieves carving off our faces—or just making us look at our phones.