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Vein ID? Creepy Apple patent indicates that new versions of Face ID might map iPhone and iPad users’ facial veins to fool masked hackers

With vein mapping ruling out masks, decapitation appears to be the only remaining option available to persistent Face ID hackers (Image source: Apple)
With vein mapping ruling out masks, decapitation appears to be the only remaining option available to persistent Face ID hackers (Image source: Apple)
A disturbing Apple patent indicates that upcoming versions of the Face ID biometric technology could generate a map of the veins in a user’s face. While Face ID already has a one in a million false-positive rate, vein mapping could dissuade hackers from attempting to use life-like masks to bypass Face ID.
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A very creepy-looking patent filed by Apple indicates that Cupertino may be working to implement vein mapping in upcoming versions of its Face ID biometric authentication tech. Vein mapping will the patterns of iPhone users’ veins beneath their skin. Patterns of venation are unique to people, just like their fingerprints. However, because veins are beneath the skin, vein mapping will help plug one of the few loopholes affecting Face ID security: highly sophisticated masks. 

3D vein mapping will be made possible by sub-epidermal imagery thanks to Face ID’s integrated infrared sensors. However, rather than mapping a user’s face like Face ID currently does, the new tech will of course map their vein pattern.

While Face ID has a very low false positive rate of approximately one in a million, this will be a step towards alleviating user worries about its security. On the other hand, in an environment where tech companies’ security practices are under increased scrutiny, it raises questions about the amount of biometric information users are willing to give to corporations.

The patent illustration is very uncomfortable to look at (Image source: Gizmochina)
The patent illustration is very uncomfortable to look at (Image source: Gizmochina)

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Arjun Krishna Lal
Arjun Krishna Lal - Tech Writer - 444 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2019
I've had a passion for PC gaming since 1996, when I watched my dad score frags in Quake as a 1 year-old. I've gone on to become a Penguin-published author and tech journalist. Apart from working as an editor at Notebookcheck, I write for outlets including TechSpot and Gamingbolt. I’m the Director of Content at Flying V Group, one of the top 5 digital marketing agencies in Orange County. When I'm not traveling the world, gathering stories for my next book, you can find me tinkering with my PC.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > Vein ID? Creepy Apple patent indicates that new versions of Face ID might map iPhone and iPad users’ facial veins to fool masked hackers
Arjun Krishna Lal, 2020-07-23 (Update: 2020-07-23)