Facial recognition is everywhere these days. Cloud servers churn through every picture uploaded to social media, phone cameras help put faces to names, and CCTV systems are being used to trace citizens in their day-to-day lives. You might want to dodge this without arousing suspicion, just for a little privacy now and then. As it turns out, common makeup techniques can help you do just that.
In research from a group at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the team trialled whether careful makeup contouring techniques could fool a facial recognition system. There are no wild stripes or dazzle patterns here; these techniques are about natural looks and are used by makeup artists every day.
The trick is to use a surrogate facial recognition system and a picture of the person who intends to evade. Digital techniques are used to alter the person’s appearance until it fools the facial recognition system. This is then used as a guide for a makeup artist to recreate using typical contouring techniques.
The theory was tested with a two-camera system in a corridor. The individual was identified correctly in 47.57% of frames in which a face was detected when wearing no makeup. With random makeup, this dropped to 33.73%, however with the team’s intentionally-designed makeup scheme applied, the attacker was identified in just 1.22% of frames. (PDF)
The attack relies on having a good surrogate of the facial recognition system one wishes to fool. Else, it’s difficult to properly design appropriate natural-look makeup to fool the system. However, it goes to show the power of contouring to completely change one’s look, both in front of humans and the machines!
Facial recognition remains a controversial issue, but nothing is stopping its rollout across the world. Indeed, your facial profile may already be out there.
30 thoughts on “Adversarial Makeup: Your Contouring Skills Could Defeat Facial Recognition”
Can’t fool thermal mapping of faces, especially with high enough resolution in temperature gradient and pixel resolution to map the larger blood vessels. Not even identical twins have identical blood vessel branching.
Maybe we need makeup that is able to block or dissipate heat so the vessel pattern is masquerade?
Haha aerogel? Will get very hot to wear that make up though
Can’t one just wear makeup that has a differing emissivity than skin?
Zink sun screen will do the trick
Wet river-mud worked for Arnold fooling the Predator…
Dual modes cameras are already being used in some places. I wonder if thermal reflective face paint (which affects emissivity thus reading) could be used to the same effect.
The problem with techniques like this make the person sticks out from a crowd like a sore thumb to any security persons on the ground.
you don’t need thermal to see blood vessels when NIR is good enough to do the trick
This all is just distraction. In 10 years it will be able to reckognise body movements without face at all. We all can reckognise our friends and lovedones from far away by the way they act…no need to se their face at all.
Clothing that will slightly restrict range of motion thus affecting the recognition?
Just plain baggy clothing.
Actually a simple trick spies used in the old days was just to put a stone in their shoe, throws off the gate and totally invisible.
10 years? Gait analysis is already a thing
But it’s not in your passport
Great comment! I can recognize my wife from far away within a second. She walks in a unique way.
I once been in bar, and had the same problem. Fourth drink does the job with Gaussian blur.
Pro tip. You can’t see double if you close one eye.
I hate to be that person, but… that’s not strictly true; some people do have monocular diplopia (including me). It doesn’t necessarily mean anything serious – could just be an artefact of astigmatism – but it can happen.
Yup. I have astigmatism. with out my glasses the full moon appears as about 5 overlapping blobs. and that’s just in one eye. the other eye is the same but the blobs are in different positions. I’m also myopic. With glasses I have a slight vertical double image.
Twenty or thirty moons here. It was fascinating as an eight-year old, but annoying as hell when I got into astronomy. Thank the applied sciences people for widefield lenses.
@Lewin Day said: “Facial recognition is everywhere these days. Cloud servers churn through every picture uploaded to social media, phone cameras help put faces to names, and CCTV systems are being used to trace citizens in their day-to-day lives. You might want to dodge this without arousing suspicion, just for a little privacy now and then. As it turns out, common makeup techniques can help you do just that.”
Or: As it turns out, maybe a real science-based reason (not political) for wearing a stupid mask 24×7 ;-)
You’re absolutely right. We need some information about what is going on and to learn Some good defenses. This is something that is going on for some time and people are not properly awere.
Yea a mask and a ball cap would look totally normal today but would really screw with facial recognition.
And safety glasses.
Just remember to vary the hats/masks you wear over the course of time.
Well there is a theory that the main reason we have all been wearing masks for the last 18 months is so that facial recognition software can be refined to work on half the face only.
Or sunglasses with a generic cap and a pocket full of different paper masks.
But not in a bank
Any poorly trained deep net will be faked out by slightly modified training data. It makes me sad that papers like this get published. This is no different than poorly trained stop sign detectors failing to spot a stop sign when there is a sticker placed on it. It’s all BS. I could recreate this paper in about 3 hours, and they are getting a thesis out of it?? COME ONE!!!
Both of those women pictured at the top ones I find very attractive. I’d like to buy either of them a drink.
Sadly because covid I cant do my hobby 😦
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