Samsung’s next-gen chips point to Galaxy S9 face detection

Samsung has unveiled its next-generation smartphone chip that will give its upcoming Galaxy S9 some iPhone X-like features, including face unlocking and animated emojis. The Exynos 9810 is built on its second-generation 10-nanometer fabrication tech, and will outperform the current flagship Exynos 8895 chip by up to 100 percent in single-core mode, Samsung said. The chip is likely to be sold in Asia, while US and European customers will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip.

Samsung emphasized that the new chip will be much better at AI, improving face detection, image recognition and other deep learning activities. That, in turn, will allow it to do real-time scanning of your face in 3D.

“Hybrid face detection enables realistic face-tracking filters as well as stronger security when unlocking a device with one’s face,” the press release notes. In other words, future Galaxy smartphones will offer Samsung’s answer to Apple’s FaceID and animated emojis. Samsung notes that the chip has a separate, secure processing unit for fingerprints, iris scans and other sensitive biometric data.

By utilizing both hardware and software, hybrid face detection enables realistic face-tracking filters as well as stronger security when unlocking a device with one’s face. For added security, the processor has a separate security processing unit to safeguard vital personal data such as facial, iris and fingerprint information.

The Exynos 9810 is one of the first chips with a Cat.18 LTE modem featuring 6x carrier aggregation and up to 1.2Gbps download and 200Mbps upload speeds. Samsung also promised better image stabilization, reduced noise in low light, 4K recording at up to 120 frames per second and “real-time, out-of-focus photography in high resolution,” it said. On top of that, you’ll be able to playback video at up to 10-bits (1.07 billion colors) with VP9 support at Ultra HD resolutions.

The Exynos 9810 is now in mass-production, Samsung says, but the big question now is whether the chip for the rest of us, the Snapdragon 845, will have exactly the same feature set. From what we saw late last year, however, it appears that the chip functions and specs are nearly identical. That’s not too surprising, because Samsung is reportedly also building the Qualcomm chip using exactly the same second-generation 10-nanometer fab process.

Source: Samsung

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Watch a developer erase his face with the iPhone X

The iPhone X’s Face ID sensors have shown great potential for art, gaming and just weird apps, but a Japanese developer has taken another tack with the device. Using Unity, ViRD game developer @noshipu, aka Kazuya Noshiro, completely erased his face, except for his mouth and eyes, as shown in the 10-second clip below. Calling the trick “optical camouflage,” Noshiro admitted that he has no clue what it can be used for. “If you want to make your face transparent, we’re recruiting,” he joked.

Noshiro didn’t say exactly how the trick worked, despite curiosity from his followers. However, one person asked him if he fixed the camera to pre-record the background, and he admitted “that’s correct.” So in other words, he likely first recorded what was behind him, then masked out his face — bar his eyes and mouth — and inserted the background. The iPhone X’s motion sensors could synchronize everything with the camera movement.

The effect shows the potential of sensor-laden phones like the iPhone X — which are bound to become more common with Face ID-like security — and how ARkit can work with other developer platforms like Unity. Sure, it seems perfectly useless, which is why it might also make a pretty sweet Snapchat filter.

Via: DesignTaxi

Source: Noshipu (Twitter)

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iPhone X owners can’t use Face ID to approve family purchases

Face ID on the iPhone X is helpful for authorizing a purchase for yourself, but don’t expect to use it if you’re approving a purchase for your kids. Numerous owners have discovered that the face authentication feature doesn’t work for family purchases (that is, where a family member asks you to buy apps or music on their behalf) like Touch ID does on earlier iPhones. It’s not a tremendous pain, but you probably won’t relish the thought of punching in your password every time your little ones want a new game for their iPads.

We’ve asked Apple if it can elaborate on why Face ID doesn’t work in these situations. Is it a security decision, a lack of time to add the feature or something else?

As Ars Technica notes, there could be good practical reasons to avoid using Face ID for family sharing decisions like this. When Apple was introducing Face ID, it was up front about the possibility that twins and other similar-looking family members could fool the detection system. And sure enough, we’ve seen at least one instance where a child successfully unlocked a parent’s iPhone X because of a strong resemblance. Apple probably doesn’t want to risk someone’s child going on a shopping spree simply because genetics worked in their favor, even if the chances of that happening are slim.

Whatever the reasons, the findings highlight the challenges of switching biometric security formats — each one has its own limitations, and could force companies to reevaluate security policies that they’d taken for granted after years of including fingerprint readers. It could be a while before depth-based face recognition is reliable enough to use in every situation, and that’s assuming there are no insurmountable obstacles.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Apple Communities (1), (2), (3)

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Printed photos can fool Windows 10’s Hello face authentication

Windows 10’s facial authentication system might be able to tell the difference between you and your twin, but it could apparently be fooled with a photo of your face. According to researchers from German security firm SySS, systems running previous versions of the platform can be unlocked with a printed photo of your face taken with a near-infrared (IR) camera. The researchers conducted their experiments on various Windows 10 versions and computers, including a Dell Latitude and a Surface Pro 4.

The spoof isn’t exactly easy to pull off — someone who wants to access your system will have quite a bit of preparation ahead of them. In some cases, the researchers had to take additional measures to spoof the systems, such as placing tape over the camera. Not to mention, they needed high-quality printouts of users’ photos clearly showing a close-up, frontal view of their faces.

Still, the researchers said the technique can successfully unlock computers and even released three videos showing it in action, which you can watch below. Somebody determined enough to break into your system could do so (they could scour your Facebook account for high-res photos they can modify, for instance), and your best bet is downloading and installing the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Simply installing the update isn’t enough, though: your system will still be vulnerable. The researchers said you’ll have to set up Windows Hello’s facial authentication from scratch and enable the new enhanced anti-spoofing feature to make sure you’re fully protected.

It’s not just Microsoft’s technology that has vulnerabilities, though. Its fellow tech titans, Apple and Samsung, are also having trouble with their authentication systems. A German hacking group found that the S8’s iris scanner can be spoofed using a photo of the user with contact lens on top, while another group of security researchers said they found a way to fool iPhone X’s face scanning system with masks.

Via: ZDNet, The Verge

Source: SySS

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Huawei says it can do better than Apple’s Face ID

Huawei has a history of trying to beat Apple at its own game (it unveiled a “Force Touch” phone days before the iPhone 6s launch), and that’s truer than ever now that the iPhone X is in town. At the end of a presentation for the Honor V10, the company teased a depth-sensing camera system that’s clearly meant to take on Apple’s TrueDepth face detection technology. It too uses a combination of infrared and a projector to create a 3D map of your face, but it can capture 300,000 points in 10 seconds — that’s 10 times as many as the iPhone X captures.

It’s secure enough to be used for payments (unlike the OnePlus 5T), and almost as quick to sign you in as the company’s fingerprint readers at 400 milliseconds. Even the silly applications of the tech promise to be better. The company showed off a not-so-subtle Animoji clone that could tell when you were sticking out your tongue in addition to tracking the usual facial expressions.

There’s one major catch to this system: it’s not actually part of a product yet. Huawei’s Honor team showed the system without mentioning what phones would use it, let alone when they would ship. This was a spec announcement to show that Huawei would eventually have an answer to Apple’s 3D face detection, not something tangible you could buy in the near future.

Source: WinFuture (translated)

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Security firm claims to thwart iPhone X’s Face ID with a mask

When Apple introduced Face ID security alongside the iPhone X, it boasted that even Hollywood-quality masks couldn’t fool the system. It might not be a question of movie-like authenticity, however — security researchers at Bkav claim to have thwarted Face ID by using a specially-built mask. Rather than strive for absolute realism, the team built its mask with the aim of tricking the depth-mapping technology. The creation uses hand-crafted “skin” made specifically to exploit Face ID, while 3D printing produced the face model. Other parts, such as the eyes, are 2D images. The proof of concept appears to work, as you can see in the clip below. The question is: do iPhone X owners actually have to worry about it?

The researchers maintain that they didn’t have to ‘cheat’ to make this work. The iPhone X was trained from a real person’s face, and it only required roughly $ 150 in supplies (not including the off-the-shelf 3D printer). The demo shows Face ID working in one try, too, although it’s not clear how many false starts Bkav had before producing a mask that worked smoothly. The company says it started working on the mask on November 5th, so the completed project took about 5 days.

When asked for comment, Apple pointed us to its security white paper outlining how Face ID detects faces and authenticates users.

Is this a practical security concern for most people? Not necessarily. Bkav is quick to acknowledge that the effort involved makes it difficult to compromise “normal users.” As with fake fingers, this approach is more of a concern for politicians, celebrities and law enforcement agents whose value is so high that they’re worth days of effort. If someone is so determined to get into your phone that they build a custom mask and have the opportunity to use it, you have much larger security concerns than whether or not Face ID is working.

More than anything, the seeming achievement emphasizes that biometric sign-ins are usually about convenience, not completely foolproof security. They make reasonable security painless enough that you’re more likely to use it instead of leaving your device unprotected. If someone is really, truly determined to get into your phone, there’s a real chance they will — this is more to deter thieves and nosy acquaintances who are likely to give up if they don’t get in after a few attempts.

Source: Bkav

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Apple says ‘tears of joy’ face is the most-used emoji

In an overview of its differential privacy technology, Apple slipped in some super important data regarding the popularity of its emojis. The document included an image ranking the top 10 emojis among US English speakers and taking the number one spot was the “face with tears of joy” emoji. The red heart and “loudly crying face” rounded out the top three.

The image is just a simple chart without any real numbers attached, so there’s no telling just how popular that emoji is over all the rest. Really it was just a demonstration of how Apple uses its differential privacy tools, many of which it described in the overview. In it, Apple said, “There are situations where Apple can improve the user experience by getting insight from what many of our users are doing, for example: What new words are trending and might make the most relevant suggestions? What websites have problems that could affect battery life? Which emoji are chosen most often?” But the company said getting that information while maintaining privacy is a bit tricky but key. To do that, it uses its differential privacy technology, which Apple describes as “a technique that enables Apple to learn about the user community without learning about individuals in the community. Differential privacy transforms the information shared with Apple before it ever leaves the user’s device such that Apple can never reproduce the true data.”

Apple says it uses these tools to improve the usability of features like QuickType and emoji suggestions, lookup hints and Safari energy draining domains, among others. You can check out the full overview here.

With the release of iOS 11.1, Apple added over 70 new emojis, and I’m betting the cursing face one will make a run for one of those top 10 spots pretty quickly just based solely on how often I plan to use it. However, iPhone X users will no longer be limited to the selection of static emojis as the company announced in September that the new phone will include the ability to animate a selection of emojis based on what you say.

Image: Apple

Via: The Verge

Source: Apple

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Apple might share iPhone X face data with developers

Despite Apple claiming it securely stores your encrypted face info on the iPhone X, Reuters is reporting that the company permits developers to access “certain facial data” with user permission. This includes a visual representation of your face, and over 50 facial expressions.

Face ID was always going to be the iPhone X’s most talked about feature. With it, the days of fingerprint authentication could be numbered, replaced by face biometrics. But, there’s something about your mugshot being stored with Apple that’s (understandably) got people shook up. Senator Al Franken already pressed the firm on the security concerns the tech raises — prompting a response. Now, it’s the turn of privacy advocates. In the report, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology warn that the info could fall into the hands of marketers.

We know Apple’s Face ID tech works by using a mixture of camera sensors and neural networks to grab a mathematical model of your face. And, like Touch ID before it, Apple is granting developers access to its Face ID API, enabling them to use the unlock mechanism on all your fave apps — including secure banking and payment apps. But, the latest revelations suggest Apple is allowing devs to make off with more data than it is letting on. The same data reportedly cannot unlock the phone, because that functionality is limited to the overarching mathematical model. Reuters adds that Apple’s developer agreement forbids app makers from sharing the info with marketers. And, that those who break the rules risk getting kicked from the App Store.

But, privacy groups fear the company won’t be able to adequately police how devs use the info, which could lead to it finding its way to marketers. That, in turn, would result in more targeted ads, but these would use the tech to track your facial reactions (like a smile, or a raise of an eyebrow). Naturally, that kind of tracking data would be a goldmine for advertisers. But, it’s also important to note that Apple’s app review policy makes it extremely difficult for bad actors to get away with violations. Yet, with more than 2 million apps in the App Store, privacy experts warn that some may slip through the cracks. We reached out to Apple for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

Source: Reuters

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Apple responds to Sen. Al Franken’s Face ID concerns in letter

Apple has responded to Senator Al Franken’s concerns over the privacy implications of its Face ID feature, which is set to debut on the iPhone X next month. In his letter to Tim Cook, Franken asked about customer security, third-party access to data (including requests by law enforcement), and whether the tech could recognize a diverse set of faces.

In its response, Apple indicates that it’s already detailed the tech in a white paper and Knowledge Base article — which provides answers to “all of the questions you raise”. But, it also offers a recap of the feature regardless (a TL:DR, if you will). Apple reiterates that the chance of a random person unlocking your phone is one in a million (in comparison to one in 500,000 for Touch ID). And, it claims that after five unsuccessful scans, a passcode is required to access your iPhone.

More significantly, Apple provides a summary on how it stores Face ID biometrics, which gets to the heart of the privacy concerns. “Face ID data, including mathematical representations of your face, is encrypted and only available to the Secure Enclave. This data never leaves the device. It is not sent to Apple, nor is it included in device backups. Face images captured during normal unlock operations aren’t saved, but are instead immediately discarded once the mathematical representation is calculated for comparison to the enrolled Face ID data.”

On the topic of data-sharing, it writes: “Third-party apps can use system provided APIs to ask the user to authenticate using Face ID or a passcode, and apps that support Touch ID automatically support Face ID without any changes.” It continues: “When using Face ID, the app is notified only as to whether the authentication was successful; it cannot access Face ID or the data associated with the enrolled face.”

Interestingly, the company dodges the Senator’s question about data requests from law enforcement. But, by indicating that data lives inside a “secure enclave” that it can’t access, it’s suggesting that it won’t be able to handover info that it doesn’t possess. It could also be holding back in light of its scrap with the Department of Justice last year, which saw it refuse to unlock an iPhone 5C owned by the San Bernardino shooters.

As Sen. Franken noted in his letter, Apple trained its Face ID neural network on a billion images. But, that’s not to say the photographs were of a billion different faces. For its part, Apple claims it looked at a “representative group of people” — although it’s still silent about exact numbers. It adds: “We worked with participants from around the world to include a representative group of people accounting for gender, age, ethnicity and other factors. We augmented the studies as needed to provide a high degree of accuracy for a diverse range of users.” Of course, we’ll get to see how accurate Apple’s tech is when the new iPhone makes its way into more hands next month.

For now, it seems the Senator is satisfied with the company’s initial response, which he plans to extend into a conversation about data protection. You can read his full statement below:

“As the top Democrat on the Privacy Subcommittee, I strongly believe that all Americans have a fundamental right to privacy. All the time, we learn about and actually experience new technologies and innovations that, just a few years back, were difficult to even imagine. While these developments are often great for families, businesses, and our economy, they also raise important questions about how we protect what I believe are among the most pressing issues facing consumers: privacy and security. I appreciate Apple’s willingness to engage with my office on these issues, and I’m glad to see the steps that the company has taken to address consumer privacy and security concerns. I plan to follow up with the Apple to find out more about how it plans to protect the data of customers who decide to use the latest generation of iPhone’s facial recognition technology.”

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iPad Pro could be Apple’s next device to use Face ID

It’s safe to assume that the face recognition system in the iPhone X will eventually reach other devices, but which ones are next in line? KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo might have an idea. The historically accurate analyst expects the next generation of the iPad Pro to adopt the TrueDepth camera and, by extension, Face ID. This would unify the experience across Apple’s mobile devices, the analyst says, and would spur developers knowing that they could use face recognition across multiple Apple devices, not just one handset. The new iPads would ship sometime in Apple’s fiscal 2018, which ends in September of next year.

There’s another question to be answered: if this happens, will the Touch ID fingerprint reader go away? It’s not so clear. Apple clearly took advantage of eliminating the home button to expand the iPhone X’s screen size, but that’s not as necessary on devices that already have large displays. Also, Apple has typically kept larger bezels on the iPad due to its size — you need at least some space for your thumbs on a device that you can’t easily hold in one hand. We’d add that it could complicate multitasking, since Apple already uses an upward swipe on the iPad’s bottom edge to bring up the app dock. How would you handle that while also using a swipe to go to the home screen?

Whatever happens, it would make sense for the iPad Pro to get face recognition. Apple has made a habit of bringing relatively new features to its higher-end iPads (such as upgraded displays and the Smart Connector), and TrueDepth might be one more reason to spring for a Pro instead of sticking to the base model. And if Apple is going to continue pushing augmented reality, it’ll want tablets that particularly well-suited to the task regardless of the camera you’re using.

Source: 9to5Mac

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