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Why Face ID doesn't look as secure as Touch ID

Before Apple officially announced the iPhone X, few bet that she would abandon Touch ID overnight for a totally new biometric system. Behold, the Face ID, and he came with everything.

Anyone who read my full review of the iPhone X knows how much I am in love with Face ID and why I think Apple's bet was right, with praise. It is far from perfect, but in terms of practicality it is far superior to Touch ID.


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But let's talk a little bit about security. In the iPhone X launch keynote, Apple stated that the Face ID false-positive rate would be 1 in 1,000,000, while the Touch ID was ?only? 1 in 50,000. In practice, therefore, we are talking about a biometric system 20 times safer and we have seen that, to purposely deceive you, it is not at all easy.

Face ID distinguishes masks from real people

Before proceeding, it is worth remembering that ?false-positive rate? refers to the probability that the system will grant access to someone who is not the real owner of the device, and not to the number of times that the system may fail to identify and, eventually, require you to enter your (alpha) numeric password. In this regard, at least in my experience, Face ID is even more than 20x better than Touch ID.

Well then. While talking about the incredible rate of 1: 1,000,000, Apple also commented en passant that she would be "minor" in cases of twins or very similar relatives. I didn?t just say how small, and from what we?ve seen in some tests over the years, I?d bet it drops even below the Touch ID ratio. The problem is that this is simply not "calculable" and therefore we just have to rely on what Apple says.

O Mashable tested with twins and Face ID was unable to distinguish between them:

J in this test the Business Insider, he did well:

These brothers have years of age difference, and yet Face ID authenticates both:

There is also this classic case of the son that is the face of the mother:

The big problem here is that the shot backfired. Apple is well aware that any and all promises made by it are extensively tested and challenged, and with Face ID it would be no different even more with it promising the safest biometric system on the planet ever placed on a smartphone.

It is very easy to identify facial similarities, simply by looking at people. Thus, and considering how simple it is to point the iPhone X at someone's face, it is absurdly simple to try to find precisely these cases of false positives. Roughly speaking, considering the world population of 7.6 billion people and the rate announced by Apple, there would then be ~ 7,600 chances of Face ID being tricked by a. How many cases have appeared in the media, until today?

Craig Federighi demonstrating Face ID

Now look around you. Who among your relatives and friends have fingerprints similar to yours? We just don't know. You can even ask some to take your fingers and test the accuracy of Touch ID, but it would be like doing the same thing with Face ID using random people, nothing like that. exactly what Apple ?got in trouble? for, and why we saw these examples of Face ID pop up failing in terms of security.

In addition, users themselves contribute to increasing this rate of false positives. In some of the examples we incorporated above, the brothers / relatives later stated that, initially, Face ID did not authenticate them, that is, it worked as it should. However, if you try this a few times and immediately type in your password, you ?teach? Face Face that these subtle differences identified by Face ID should be ignored. In this way, it adapts and starts to authenticate the other person as well.

At a time when car keys were not encrypted, this could also be a problem. There was no single key for each car, but no one knew when it would fit in any car.

basically the same thing with Touch ID; making such a baker's account again, in the world there would therefore be ~ 152,000 chances that happens. The person sitting next to you at work, who is totally different from you, may have a fingerprint similar to the point of cheating the Touch ID. But who's going to waste time on it, anyway?

The fact is that, yes, Face ID can be circumvented among very similar people. But unless you live with someone like that (dad / mom, brother, twin) and don't really trust that person to pick up and use your iPhone X, I honestly don't think that's a cause for concern for anyone. In the rare cases that it is, the person has the option to disable Face ID and use the password or, alternatively, opt for an iPhone model with Touch ID at least until Apple evolves Face ID to such an extent that this rate of false positives is even lower.