Forbes had an interesting experiment recently. A 3D printed head was used in order to test how secure facial recognition is when it comes to smartphones. For this experiment five devices were used: an iPhone X and an LG G7 ThinQ, a OnePlus 6, and a Samsung S9, a Samsung Note 8.
The head was printed at Backface in Birmingham, U.K. Fifty cameras were used to create one single 3D image, which is then loaded in editing software.
iPhone X is the clear winner
All the tests made one thing clear: it is impossible to break into Apple’s iPhone X using a 3D printed head. Here is what the article reveals:
We tested four of the hottest handsets running Google’s operating systems and Apple’s iPhone to see how easy it’d be to break into them. We did it with a 3D-printed head. All of the Androids opened with the fake. Apple’s phone, however, was impenetrable. (…)
I then held up my fake head to the devices to see if the device would unlock. For all four Android phones, the spoof face was able to open the phone, though with differing degrees of ease. The iPhone X was the only one to never be fooled.
While Android devices fell for this trick, there were some differences. For example, the LG was unlocked right away. However, on a second attempt it became more difficult to open it. This might be because the facial recognition function improves in time. For this device facial recognition is only “a secondary unlock feature”.
The Samsung S9 has a warning that popped up before activating facial recognition: “Your phone could be unlocked by someone or something that looks like you. If you use facial recognition only, this will be less secure than using a pattern, PIN or password.”
Nora Reynolds is a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior, writing about science in general. She also likes to try new gadgets and sports about the AI new era.