This Hat Can Fool a Face Recognition System Into Thinking You’re Moby

Facial recognition software is becoming more advanced and ubiquitous—I mean, you can unlock your phone with your face now. As this progresses, researchers are trying to make systems more secure by getting ahead of any potential hacks, including creating an infrared light-projecting baseball cap that can fool a face recognition system into thinking you’re the musician Moby.

researchers from universities in China and the United States recently uploaded a paper to the arXiv preprint server that details exactly how such a scam could be pulled off. Infrared light can’t be seen with the naked eye, but most cameras can pick up this spectrum.

Using tiny infrared LEDs wired to a baseball cap, the researchers were able to project dots of light onto the wearer’s face in a way that not only can obscure their identity but also “impersonate a different person to pass facial recognition-based authentication.” This is a much more challenging goal, and it requires using a deep neural network to interpret a static image of the victim’s face and project the appropriate infrared lighting onto the impersonator. To test out their theory, the researchers pulled four random photos and tried tricking face recognition software, including with a photo of singer Moby:

 

 

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