Duping the Huawei Mate 20 Pro 3D Face Unlock technology might be a piece of cake

Duping the Huawei Mate 20 Pro 3D Face Unlock technology might be a piece of cake
Among the many killer new features and technologies of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, some of which are truly groundbreaking and possibly standard-setting for years to come, a couple of things seem to stand out. 

It’s certainly not unusual to be able to unlock a high-end phone these days using both your fingerprint and face, but Huawei has managed to pair two state-of-the-art biometric recognition methods on the Mate 20 Pro.

We’re talking ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanning and 3D Face Unlock functionality, the latter of which looks very similar to Apple’s pioneering Face ID technology, introduced with last year’s iPhone X.

At least on paper it does, because in reality, the complex facial recognition feature has already been duped without much effort. Two German journalists in the process of reviewing Huawei’s impressive handset found the accuracy of its 3D biometric recognition feature wholly unimpressive.

The “notchy” smartphone appears incapable of distinguishing between the two’s facial characteristics, even though they are hardly identical. Both have beards and similarly short hair (kind of), but other than that, these are two different guys with no family relation and numerous distinctive traits.

One of them even wears prescription eyeglasses, yet the Huawei Mate 20 Pro can be easily unlocked by either face. That’s no random occurrence either, as AndroidPit allegedly repeated the experiment multiple times with the same result. Whichever face is scanned and saved as that of the phone’s rightful owner, the other one will be accepted as well and the Mate 20 Pro will be fraudulently unlocked.

The only semi-reasonable explanation for this embarrassing situation would probably be some sort of a pre-release glitch, to be ironed out by the time the device actually hits stores. Otherwise, Huawei’s 3D Face Unlock technology could be even less secure and reliable than 2D implementations available on rival phones.

For its part, the company has promised to meticulously investigate the matter, claiming this type of problem has never been noticed in internal testing. Not even with identical twins.

Related phones

Mate 20 Pro
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 3120 pixels
  • Camera 40 MP / 24 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2600 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + Nano Memory (NM)
  • Battery 4200 mAh



1. Icent55

Posts: 81; Member since: Nov 02, 2017

Same s**t happened with Apple's face id...so next news

7. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Apple's could be unlocked only by twins if I remember correctly. To be honest, next year Apple should have a 2nd Gen., faster FaceID with a 4MP iris scanner to ALWAYS compliment it. Plus an ultrasonic FPS. And allow us to use both FaceID+Iris scanning and 3D FPS at the same time. Making for the ultimate secure unlocking method.

9. maherk

Posts: 7007; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

And a 40 something years old mother and her child ;)

19. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Actually mom and son look a like as if it’s twins lol.

16. cmdacos

Posts: 4313; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

And a coworker that was no relation whatsoever just looked similar.

20. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Iris scanner more secure than Face ID when it comes to twins.

2. bucknassty

Posts: 1371; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

wasn't there kids that could unlock their parents iphone x's last year??

3. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 616; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Parents weren't holding the phones right when they setup Face id.

4. Ghost04

Posts: 522; Member since: May 03, 2014

The face unlock technology is very unreliable. So, you can assume how unsafe new iphones are ... Its a stupid tech that people fall in love with . It people's falt that their privacy is at risk today . Fingerprint is the most secure system for consumer level. Instead of using face unlock , manufacturers should have invested in more secure fingerprint tech . Next gen phones should concentrate on a high level screen fingerprint. I wont mind even if its slow , security is the priority.

5. peace247 unregistered

meh... numerous post about apple with similar cases...typical ipa.

6. Cat97

Posts: 1972; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

What else do you expect from Chinese software ? :)

8. JCASS889

Posts: 599; Member since: May 18, 2018

the technology to keep a phone 100% secure is called an alphanumeric password. you all are obsessed about security yet you all ignore the most secure method out there. you want total security you have to sacrifice speed. but if you want speed you have to sacrifice security.

10. Charlie2k

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

Microsoft was the pioneer, Apple copied Microsoft. And fun fact is that even IF Microsoft was first - it was nerver fooled by twins or by mother/son.

11. wesley.

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

That and Apple's failures is why face unlock will never be secure enough. Retina scanning on Samsung's is the only reliable alternative, if you aren't going to use already very secure fingerprint scanners. IMO, Huawei did not need to put a bigger notch with a 3d face unlock on the Mate 20 Pro, when their in screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is revolutionary on a widely sold flagship smartphone. (Not including hard to get Chinese models and expensive Porsche editions)

12. maherk

Posts: 7007; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the IRIS scanner more secure than what Huawei and Apple are offering? Yes it was also tricked, but it needed bunch of hackers, 3d printer, and contact lenses for it to be hacked. I never read that two friends or family members were able to fool the IRIS scanner.

29. Sagemode87

Posts: 37; Member since: Aug 16, 2018

Yet Apple fans swear up and down that face Id is the most secure non fingerprint biometric.

13. redmd

Posts: 1948; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I think FP scanner is much more secure.

14. Vokilam

Posts: 1347; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I owned an iPhone X for a few months now - and so far anyone who tried - has not been able to unlock it. My dad is the closest to someone who looks like me - and it does not unlock for him. I’m confident about Face ID - it’s much more convenient than fp sensors (which I was fond of since iPhone introduced it on 5S) and then all my notes. I like that everyone is moving to face unlock - more choices for those that prefer this method.

17. cmdacos

Posts: 4313; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

How is facial recognition more convenient than already having the phone unlocked as you take it out of your pocket using fps? You're right though more choice is beneficial so having an fps and a secure enough (no one has this nailed) facial recognition system is the ultimate convenience.

25. Vokilam

Posts: 1347; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Try working in construction, or do anything with your hands than just typing away at the comment section. For 8 hours a day, my hands are dirty, sweaty, and/or wet. Certain caulk and adhesives stay on your fingers for days. The worst is when you cut your finger (rare, but happens) then you either wait or get used to using another finger to sign in. —————— Furthermore: it seems you don’t use iOS, so I’ll fill you in: your argument is it’s unlocked as you’re pulling it out of the pocket - I agree. But, Face ID is used not just to unlock the phone 50 times a day, but also sign into secured apps like bank apps and other enterprise apps, Apple Pay transactions, it’s used to fill out forms, and fill in username and passwords everywhere (including PA) — its done without shifting your fingers: just sees your face and you’re in. In all those instances you’re already looking at the screen - it automatically scans while you navigate. ———— As the phones get bigger reaching for that fp sensor is more awkward. It feels so much more automated when the phone just reads your face. And I do this all day regardless how dirty, wet, or sweaty my fingers are.

26. cmdacos

Posts: 4313; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Super. I still prefer having both options for all scenarios to be covered. Thankfully I don't have to work in a job where I get dirty.

27. mootu

Posts: 1537; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

I work in construction and i have to use both. Sometimes my face is covered and other times my hands are covered. When both are covered im buggered lol and have to remove either dust mask or a glove.

31. Vokilam

Posts: 1347; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Oh, yeah, one time I got hella frustrated that my phone stopped unlocking, lol. Then later realized I was trying to unlock while wearing a dust mask and didn’t even realize it. Good point.

30. Sagemode87

Posts: 37; Member since: Aug 16, 2018

Samsung pay does the same thing with iris scanner and fingerprint sensor. I agree that options are good when it comes to unlocking smartphones.

15. monkeyb

Posts: 413; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

Sh*t happens to Android Phones: Comment section is filled with iPhone comparisons. Sh*t happens to Apple Devices: Comment section is filled with iPhone talk. (Not Android) See how haters are obsessed with Apple more than Android. Basically Android fans and companies are the biggest marketers for Apple. Good or bad, Apple is kept in the spotlight. lol.

24. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 128; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

I see the same thing with Apple stories

18. Nionx

Posts: 208; Member since: Oct 30, 2017

They should have just left it with the in display fingerprint reader and get rid of the large notch. The water drop notch with its little selfie camera would more than suffice. Now you have that huge igle notch with a facial unlock that is seemingly easy to bypass. Pointless.

21. Sweetcheese

Posts: 43; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

Well, at least there is a reliable in-display finger print scanner.

22. Sweetcheese

Posts: 43; Member since: Aug 23, 2018

Well, at least there is a reliable in-display finger print scanner.

23. path45th

Posts: 407; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

First Huawei alluded to a better performing chip but it is proven to be well behind the A12 Bionic. Now, as it seems their Face ID is half baked. What's next?

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.