Skin sensing technology to beat Face ID security
In 2017, Apple introduced a revolutionary feature that set a new secure access standard - Face ID. Yet, the superior functionality has its flaws and is not one hundred percent foolproof. Now, live skin detection technology is born to beat Apple’s implementation and bring a whole new user experience.
Newest tech invention vs. Glasses & tape
As innovative Face ID sounded after Apple introduced it publicly, security researchers started to doubt the warranty of it. During Black Hat USA 2019, a few researchers demonstrated how they could bypass Face ID. They were able to log into the victim’s phone by simply putting a pair of modified glasses on the attacker’s face. It took to carefully place some tape over the lenses and place them on the victim’s face. So, it appeared that one of the most significant Face ID flaws is that the feature doesn’t extract 3D information from the hidden face area. Of course, such a hack is quite hard to execute, since a bad actor needs to be near the victim physically.
The power of infrared
Even though Face ID is imperfect, it remains the only one technology to overcome. Germany-based company BASF hopes to conquer the world with a step beyond. TrinamiX, BASF subsidiary, developed a new implementation of face recognition. It relies not only on the structures of faces but on the live-skin-sensing technology itself. The company produced an infrared dot projector and camera sensor combination that can sense different materials, such as natural skin. The technique can do 3D face scanning, and also verify if your face is made of actual living flesh. It can even tell the dissimilarity amongst a face and a printed three-dimensional mask. Even the face of a deceased person.
As creepy living skin detection may sound, no doubt it’s a revolutionary invention for increased security of verification. Trinamix’s algorithms can recognize different materials by identifying the backscatter of infrared or lasers that are hopped off a 3D scan. Face ID sends an infrared series of dots out, and unique algorithms perceive them. In contrast, TrinamiX developed a program that can analyze the light from those dots and obtain recognitional sensor readings afterward.
TrinamiX already made a partnership with Qualcomm-powered Android phones and expects to introduce the tech in mobile devices by 2021. The early prototype of the tech uses a small Raspberry Pi computer, which should evolve into the phone’s internal processor later on. The company has ambitious goals: to deliver its facial recognition tool to Windows machines right after implementing it on Androids.
Beyond the smartphones
TrinamiX is not stopping with smartphones or laptops. The tech has plenty of possibilities to find uses beyond facial authentication. The company sees the tool effective in cars - to detect if a living driver is sitting, or that if a seat belt is fastened. Robots could use the technology in factories or warehouses where they need to find or pick particular objects by the material. With the growing use of facial recognition amongst law enforcement, the technology could immediately find its way to the government’s or military supervision. However, TrinamiX says it has no plans to be part of government surveillance, and the military is not their primary focus. Tapping into the Android market is already a tremendous opportunity for the company. So, zombie hackers, it’s about time to consider a career change.
Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.