Microsoft quietly updated Windows 10 to fix 'Hello' facial recognition flaw

22 December, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Jeannette Greene

The surprising thing is that even relatively low resolution laser-printed photos of the user, taken with a near-IR (infrared) camera, could be used to fool the login screen, the firm claims, although this will require some manipulation.

In the advisory, the researchers noted that they were able to test the attack on both a Dell Latitude and a Surface Pro 4.


Windows 10 Creators Update is required (version 1703). We've seen that in the rise of fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software, such as Windows Hello and Face ID on the iPhone X. Just how foolproof are these biometric authentication methods, though? But now it's the turn of Windows Hello, Microsoft's facial recognition security feature, to be spoofed, albeit using an older version of the operating system. However, the attack was only successful on version 1703, the Creators Update rolled out in Spring 2017, and 1709, the Fall Creators Update now being rolled out, when anti-spoofing was disabled. To prevent a successful attack, users need to also setup Windows Hello face authentication from scratch after the update, as well as enabling anti-spoofing.

The researchers published a series of proof of concept videos to prove their point. Another method involved placing opaque sticky tape over the RGB camera lens and then holding the same printout up. However, anti-spoofing proved ineffective with the Anniversary Update in SYSS' testing. If a user were to update from an older version like 1607 without reconfiguring Hello, then they will still be vulnerable to the attack. And it's unsurprisingly consolidating its mobile-keyboard strategy around SwiftKey. While these utilities are not built into the existing production version of Windows, the addition of them into the Insider builds shows that Microsoft is taking Linux seriously and is trying to appeal to those who use it regularly. This is the component that drives the Microsoft Security Essentials/ Windows Defender, Microsoft Endpoint Protection, and Windows Intune Endpoint Protection for anti-malware.

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