Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Hong Kong: Analysing Facial Recognition Software and Enterprise Wi-Fi

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Two research teams from The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Department of Information Engineering uncovered security vulnerabilities in mobile facial recognition software and enterprise Wi-Fi and VPN setups that have real-world implications.

In their research, they found that bypassing facial identification in mobile apps is more straightforward than previously believed, with users’ identity documents and selfies being easily stolen and sold on the black market for identity fraud. While many studies have focused on deepfake or 3D mask attacks targeting machine learning models, few have addressed the protocol design and implementation issues in facial recognition systems that enable low-cost, scalable attacks.

Image Credits: CUHK, Press Release

Professor Lau Wing-cheong’s research team analysed 18 mobile facial recognition software development kits (SDKs), including those from industry leaders, and identified security flaws in 11 of them that could lead to liveness detection bypasses.

They used an automatic app analyser to scan over 18,000 apps and discovered that approximately 300 of them contained at least one of the vulnerable facial recognition libraries. By exploiting design flaws in these SDKs, attackers could circumvent facial identification using static photos of the victim.

The team provided security recommendations for the design of facial recognition systems and notified the software companies about the vulnerabilities. Their findings were recently presented at the Black Hat USA 2023 conference under the title “The Living Dead: Hacking Mobile Face Recognition SDKs with Non-Deepfake Attacks.”

The research team also delved into the security issues of enterprise Wi-Fi and VPN services provided by employers, enabling employees to work on the go with mobile devices. They found design and implementation flaws in mainstream operating systems related to enterprise Wi-Fi, leading users to adopt insecure wireless network settings. They also analysed Wi-Fi setup guides from numerous educational institutions worldwide and discovered that about 86% of them instructed users to adopt unsafe Wi-Fi settings on at least one mainstream operating system, making users vulnerable to password theft by attackers using low-cost Wi-Fi impersonation techniques.

Regarding VPNs, the team tested 132 front-end applications used globally and identified serious, previously unknown vulnerabilities in 63 of them. These vulnerabilities allowed hackers to steal user passwords easily and stealthily. In some cases, front-end applications of VPN products even enabled network attackers to execute malicious code with high privileges on the user’s device, compromising the entire system. The team also found configuration issues in more than 300 of the 2,000 VPN user manuals they analysed from universities worldwide, which could lead users into traps and result in password theft by hackers.

In response to the severity of their findings, the research team offered safety recommendations to those affected and informed local and foreign institutions about the identified defects. This research led to the publication of three papers at prominent international academic conferences, and the team received the Best Paper Award at the 16th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (ACM WiSec 2023).

They also provided safety tips for vendors, IT administrators, and users of enterprise Wi-Fi and VPNs, emphasising the importance of secure settings and user education to prevent security vulnerabilities and breaches.

OpenGov Asia reported earlier that the Hong Kong Productivity Council Cyber Security (HKPC Cyber Security) unveiled the “Smart & Secure City Hall,” a platform designed to showcase a wide array of cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions and innovative technologies. This initiative aims to emphasise the critical role of cybersecurity in the development of a smart city.

HKPC Cyber Security aims to provide high-quality advanced technologies and inventive services, supporting organisations of all sizes in bolstering their cybersecurity defences against potential threats. Through the Smart & Secure City Hall, HKPC Cyber Security aspires to raise awareness about cybersecurity among businesses and the general public while fostering the adoption of Innovation and Technology (I&T) to contribute to Hong Kong’s transformation into an international I&T hub and a smart city.


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.