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Forbes Reporter Uses 3D-Printed Head; Fools Facial Recognition Security On Phones

December 17, 2018

A cybersecurity reporter and his team at Forbes used a 3D printer to replicate his head and subsequently unlocked several smartphone brands that offer facial recognition security features. Facial recognition, and fingerprint and iris detection, are known as “biometric” tools.

Reporter Thomas Brewster writes that he and his team used a “spoof face” to successfully unlock four Android devices, “an LG G7 ThinQ, a Samsung S9, a Samsung Note 8 and a OnePlus 6.” Brewster adds that an iPhone X was never fooled by the facsimile of his face.

Brewster’s report reminds readers that facial recognition is not touted as the most secure defense against attempts to unlock a phone; passwords and PINs (personal identification number) are still recommended, along with fingerprint and iris detection options, if available.

The iPhone X no longer has fingerprint detection; Brewster writes that “Apple’s investment in its tech – which saw the company work with a Hollywood studio to create realistic masks to test Face ID – has clearly paid off. It was impossible to break in with the model.”

Brewster also noted that Windows Hello, a facial recognition feature for those running Microsoft’s Windows on their smartphones, “also didn’t accept the fake head as real.”

Of the One Plus 6, Brewster said it “instantly opened when presented with the fake head” and was “undoubtedly, the least secure of the devices we tested.”



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