Researchers create 3D faces from online photos to defeat face authentication systems

Security researchers continue to find ways around biometric-based security features, including a new attack which can defeat face authentication systems.

You might be careful about posting photos of yourself online, either refraining from it or setting the images to private, but your “friends” might post pictures of you online. It wouldn’t matter if those pictures of you are low quality or there were as few as three publicly available photos of you, researchers from the University of North Carolina have developed a virtual reality-based attack that can reproduce your face well enough to trick face authentication systems.

In “Virtual U: Defeating Face Liveness Detection by Building Virtual Models from Your Public Photos” (pdf), the researchers called “the ability of an adversary to recover an individual’s facial characteristics through online photos” an “immediate and very serious threat.” The team devised an attack which can bypass “existing defenses of liveness detection and motion consistency.”

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