Your Kid Might Be Able to Unlock Your iPhone X


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 Your Kid Might Be Able to Unlock Your iPhone X

A girl reacts as she tries an iPhone X at the Apple Omotesando store on November 3, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">Unless you somehow have the time and energy to painstakingly handcraft a carbon copy of someone elses face, theres no getting around the iPhone Xs fancy new unlocking mechanism, Face ID. That is, unless — apparently —youre a kid.

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">According to Wired, the most credible threat to your thousand dollar phones super high-tech security system is a 10-year-old, or specifically this 10-year-old:

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">(WARNING: Dabbing occurs in this video. Please prepare yourself.)

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">Earlier this month Attaullah Malik and Sana Sherwani discovered that their 10-year-old son, Ammar Malik, could unlock his moms iPhone after merely walking into their bedroom and picking it up. According to Wired, the phone unlocked for the boy after just a split second, leaving the whole family flabbergasted.

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">“It was funny at first, but it wasnt really funny afterwards,” Malik said to Wired. “My wife and I text all the time and there might be something we dont want him to see. Now my wife has to delete her texts when theres something she doesnt want Ammar to look at.”

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">When you think about the amount of technology thats at play here, its pretty crazy that Ammars young face was able to successfully fool it. Face ID works by using Apples fancy new TrueDepth camera, which projects and analyzes over 30,000 dots to make a depth map of your face while also capturing an infrared image (which is how it works in the dark), and an A11 Bionic chips neural engine, which turns all that data into a comprehensive mathematical representation of your lovely ole mug.

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">“Apparently, TrueDepth cameras depth map of my wifes face…wasnt accurate enough as it worked with my 10-year-old son,” Malik wrote in a LinkedIn post on the incident,”He doesnt fall under the twins exception and has a big age difference compared to my wife. His face is smaller than my wifes face and the geometry of their faces dont match, at least to human eyes. Also, the additional neural network present in iPhone X thats trained to spot and resist spoofing doesnt work as intended in this scenario.”

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">So why did this happen then? In all likelihood theres a number of factors at play here. According to Wired, the first time Sherwani set up Face ID on her iPhone X she was inside, at night. This type of lighting can cause the phones facial authentication systems to be less accurate and perhaps even allow for a similar face to erroneously gain access. When Sherwani re-registered her face again in different lighting conditions, Ammar couldnt get in.

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">The issue also likely has to do with how Face ID is set up to learn from us. If you try and use Face ID but get denied – due to a weird angle or some general AI funkiness – and then enter your passcode to gain entry, the AI is trained to treat that denial as a mistake, and will try to add that angle of your face to its digital image of you (AKA, learn from its mistake). Though Malik insists Ammar hadnt touched the phone before it unlocked for him, its a plausible theory that could explain other similar situations.

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">If you take a peek at Apples lengthy information page on Face ID, they do have this to say on the subject (emphasis mine):

The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID). As an additional protection, Face ID allows only five unsuccessful match attempts before a passcode is required. The statistical probability is different for twins and siblings that look like you and among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed. If youre concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.

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