Keeping our data secure is an important aspect of modern life, especially these days as we seem to carry very personal information about ourselves and others on easily mislaid slabs of glass and plastic.

The modern mobile phone is a hacker’s dream. If they can get hold of yours and break in, they can have unfettered access to photos, passwords and bank accounts.
But passwords are a huge pain in the backside. Many people use a PIN, but very often they choose the same one as their credit card, or in some cases they try to be real clever and just reverse it.

For those that do the right thing and use other numbers, there’s the cold sweats when you realise you’ve forgotten it.

Mobile phone security, then, is necessary but annoying.

Manufacturers have therefore invested millions in trying to get around this sticky problem.

The ideal solution is a system whereby a phone can easily be unlocked by the authorized user, but anyone else will find it impossible. Fingerprint sensors are by far the most common approach these days, but with the iPhoneX came another system that promised to make everything easier – face recognition.

Apple talked it’s technology up quite a bit. It apparently uses 30,000 points on the face, together with an infrared image which is then converted into a mathematical representation of the data.

This is done using the impressively named A11 Bionic chip’s neural engine. Clever eh?

You’d think.

However, Jane Bolas was shocked to find that her daughter could unlock the phone by looking at it, too.

Jane said, “Lola just picked up the phone to take a look and it instantly unlocked.”

Now, they do look somewhat alike, but 30,000 points alike?

Jane called Apple Support, and they said they’d never come across it before, and Jane should reset the phone.
Sure enough, the phone stopped recognizing Lola’s face, problem solved.

Until a few weeks later when Lola picked up the phone again and it immediately unlocked!

According to Apple’s own website, the chances of this happening are 1 in a million. Obviously, this number is based on a stranger picking it up, but I’d argue it’s more likely to be picked up by a relative who bears a passing resemblance.

So it seems phone security still has a way to go before we can leave our phones lying around with our kids about!