IPhone X Face ID Security Paper: 6 Things To Know About Feature

Bill Rogers
September 28, 2017

When Apple launched the iPhone X, one of the new features of the iPhone was the introduction of Face ID which is a facial recognition system.

Perhaps most significantly, multiple reports have emerged indicating that one of the key components to the TrueDepth camera that is essential to Face ID's operation, codenamed "Romeo", is proving so hard to manufacture that it's causing a bottleneck in iPhone X production.

Because they are wasting so much time trying to construct the camera, the production of the Apple iPhone X has also slowed down significantly.

Apple says the timing of the new site isn't tied to any specific technology launch, but rather is seen as a necessary refresh after not having refreshed the privacy information for two years.

As a result of these and other measures, Apple claims that there's a one in 1,000,000 chance that a random person could unlock your phone with their face (though Apple says this probability is "different" for twins and siblings, and doesn't specify what that probability is).

First, a dot projector projects over 30,000 invisible dots of infrared light onto your face, which is read by an infrared camera and used to create a 3D image, or depth map.

Can I turn Face ID off and use my passcode?

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"Third-party apps can use system-provided APIs to ask the user to authenticate using Face ID or a passcode, and apps that support Touch ID automatically support Face ID without any changes", notes the document.

Well, the tech giant finally obliged - releasing a six-page overview detailing the ins and outs of the system set to replace Touch ID on the forthcoming iPhone X. But, he said, Apple has built in security that might make the job so labor-intensive and expensive that it wouldn't be worth it. Hackers like technical challenges, but when there's real money on the line they'll tend to go for the low-hanging fruit. If it's a close enough match, Face ID may still save and use this model too.

Still, in truth, no security technology is completely secure. According to Apple, "these augmentation processes allow Face ID to keep up with dramatic changes in your facial hair or makeup use, while minimizing false acceptance".

"People shouldn't look at this and think it can't be defeated", security expert Peter Fu wrote. The numeric representation of users' fingerprints were stored in the secure element of the iPhone's processor, and the Face ID data is stored in the exact same place. Without either component, the iPhone X's central security feature will not work.

"Face ID confirms attention by detecting the direction of your gaze, then uses neural networks for matching and anti-spoofing so you can unlock your phone with a glance", Apple said in the paper.

"You're giving bad guys more and more incentive to try to compromise that secure enclave", he said.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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