Life & Technology

3D Printed Head Bypasses “Impenetrable” Android Facial Recognition


Thomas Brewster, the cybersecurity specialists for the Forbes, challenged a lot of Android smartphones, plus iPhone X, with a 3D printed head to unlock the phones by tricking the “impenetrable” facial recognition systems.

“Facial recognition is cropping up everywhere. From shopping malls to the workplace, it’s likely something is scanning your face every day. But rather than invade your privacy, facial recognition on smartphones is supposed to protect your digital life from snoops,” said Thomas Brewster who manage to pass the Android and iPhone facial recognition with a 3D printed head.

Printed at Backface, in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, the fake head broke into all the Android devices Brewster tested. However, the iPhone X was indeed impenetrable. But, before jumping to conclusions and think that iOS facial recognition is unbeatable, you should know that iPhone’s facial recognition also got fooled on other occasions involving 3D printed faces.

3D Printed Head Bypasses “Impenetrable” Android Facial Recognition

“If you’re an Android customer, though, look away from your screen now. 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,” said Thomas Brewster is his article on Forbes.

Thomas Brewster managed to break into four Android devices from different manufacturers using his 3D printed head. Namely, he managed to bypass facial recognition on  LG G7 ThinQ, Samsung S9, Samsung Note 8 and OnePlus 6.

This new test is confirming something we already know – the Android face recognition is less secure than on iOS. iPhone devices use IR depth mapping and attention awareness technology which might be the explanation why iOS Face ID was impenetrable with Brewster’s 3D printed head. However, more complex 3D printed heads, in other tests, also bypassed Apple’s facial recognition system.

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