Technology

A Picture Of You Can Trick Windows 10 Face Detection

Face authentication seems to be all the rage this year. With Apple’s Face ID making waves this holiday season, using innovative technology to provide a secure and convenient way to unlock your device is clearly a popular feature with consumers. While there are usually issues with any new technology, there can be serious problems when there are major flaws with a security feature. With recent reports suggesting that the iPhone X Face ID may have issues detecting Chinese faces, the security issues of facial recognition problems have become apparent. It appears as if the problems with Windows 10 face detection are more severe, however. New information that recently surfaced seems to show Windows 10 face detection logging users in just using a photo of their face.

Windows 10 Face Detection
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Windows 10 Face Detection

The information regarding issues with Windows 10 face detection came from German security firm SySS. Researchers from the company have determined that systems running previous versions of Windows 10 can be unlocked simply using a printed photo of the user’s face. The issue wasn’t system specific, with tests run on a variety of Windows 10 versions and computers ranging from a Dell Latitude to the Surface Pro 4.

Customers currently using Windows 10 face detection shouldn’t panic right away, however, as the feat is a little complicated to pull off. The process takes quite a bit of preparation ahead of time, and the systems didn’t reliably unlock every time a photo was used. Sometimes researchers had to take additional steps to put the camera at a disadvantage, such as using tape to obscure the view. High-quality printouts of a photo consisting of a close-up, frontal view of your face will also be required. This means that it’s extremely unlikely someone could snap a photo or print one out from Facebook and access your computer.

Despite the unique conditions needed for Windows 10 face detection to unlock using a photo, the fact that it’s a potential problem poses trouble for a security feature. It seems as if a solid and closely guarded password is the best option at the current point in time to keep people out of your private information — just make sure it isn’t on the list of these worst passwords of 2017!

How To Fix Face Authentication Issues

Videos of the process that the researchers took are included below, and while the process they use isn’t necessarily a casual attempt to break into the PC, it shows that a determined individual with the direct resources could definitely take steps to compromise your PC.

There’s good news for those who enjoy the feature, however. Fixing the issue is a simple process. Downloading the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update isn’t enough to solve the problem — you’ll need to set up Windows Hello’s facial authentication again from scratch with the enhanced anti-spoofing feature to make sure the problem is fully resolved.

It’s rather simple to fix the issue following the steps above, but the fact that it was an issue in the first place calls into question the reliability of a Windows 10 face detection software, as well as face recognition technology in general. We may be a little ways off from a world unlocked via face scans, but companies like Windows and Apple are certainly leading the charge towards a more convenient — and hopefully more secure — future.