Airport security and payment systems that use facial recognition can be fooled by using a 3D-printed mask of a different person’s face, researchers find

Airport security and payment systems that use facial recognition can be fooled by using a 3D-printed mask of a different person’s face, researchers find

Stacy Liberatore | The Daily Mail | Source URL

Facial recognition may not be as secure as previously thought.

Researchers found that the technology can be fooled by using a 3D-printed mask depicting a different person's face.

The mask was able to trick payment a system at a border checkpoint in China a passport-control gate in Amsterdam.

The security flaw was discovered by researchers with the artificial intelligence firm Kneron, which determined criminals only need is a lifelike mask of a person to bypass security checkpoints.

Kneron CEO Albert Liu said in a statement: 'Technology providers should be held accountable if they do not safeguard users to the highest standards.'

'There are so many companies involved that it highlights an industry-wide issue with substandard facial recognition tech.'

During the test, researchers visited public locations where facial recognition is used, Fortune reported.

They went to stores in Asia where they could fool payment systems such as AliPay and WeChat.

However, what was found to be the most alarming was when the team was able to bypass at a self-boarding terminal in Amsterdam.

The team also says it was able to gain access in this way to rail stations in China where commuters use facial recognition to pay their fare and board trains.

This shows the threat to the privacy of users with sub-par facial recognition that is masquerading as 'AI',' Liu said.

'The technology is available to fix these issues but firms have not upgraded it. They are taking shortcuts at the expense of security.'

Kneron conducted the experiments to learn about the technology's limitations while developing its own facial recognition technology.

Earlier this year, it was found that a 3D-printed head can trick your smartphone's facial recognition technology into unlocking your phone.

Experts showed that Android's models were the least secure, with some devices opening by simply showing a photograph of the owner.

It was found that Apple, who got rid of its finger print reading ID in favour of facial recognition last year, was the most secure when tested.

The findings bring up concerns over offering hackers and police an entry route into your personal information stored on your handset.

The test was conducted by Forbes reporter Thomas Brewster, who commissioned a 3D printed model of his own head to test the face unlocking systems on a range of phones.

Apple's iPhone X models software including the XR and the XS was compared against Android models Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9, LG G7 Thinq and OnePlus6.

It was found that only the iPhone X models defended against the attack giving credence to Apple's claims that their software is the most secure.

The worst offender among Androids was the OnePlus 6, which appeared to open almost instantly after being shown the model head.


Facial recognition software works by matching real time images to a previous photograph of a person.

Each face has approximately 80 unique nodal points across the eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth which distinguish one person from another.

A digital video camera measures the distance between various points on the human face, such as the width of the nose, depth of the eye sockets, distance between the eyes and shape of the jawline.

This produces a unique numerical code that can then be linked with a matching code gleaned from a previous photograph.

A facial recognition system used by officials in China connects to millions of CCTV cameras and uses artificial intelligence to pick out targets.

Experts believe that facial recognition technology will soon overtake fingerprint technology as the most effective way to identify people. 

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