The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ recently launched with a slew of impressive specs and features, including extra security through facial recognition via its front camera.
As it turns out, however, that facial recognition feature might not be all that secure after all, as it was apparently tricked by a high-resolution photo of the face authorized to access the smartphone.
As smartphones play an increasingly bigger part in our daily lives, we're entrusting to them a wide range of sensitive information, from passwords to banking details and everything in between. Smartphone makers have invested heavily in security features to ensure that users are safe and protected and their data remains private, but things don't always work out as planned.
We've previously heard of various tricks to fool fingerprint scanners and it now seems that facial recognition is not foolproof either. A new video surfaced online showing the Galaxy S8 security compromised with a simple trick - a photo of the user.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Facial Recognition Fooled By Photo
The video shows a person bypassing the facial recognition security feature of the Galaxy S8 by placing a photo in front of the camera. More specifically, the person in the video uses a Galaxy S8 to trick another Galaxy S8 into recognizing the photo as the authorized user whose face it's supposed to scan to grant access. The trick doesn't work from the first try, but after a few attempts the Galaxy S8 is successfully unlocked.
The Samsung Galaxy S8's extra security relies on the front camera to unlock the smartphone through face recognition. Samsung reportedly implemented this feature because the iris scanner did not unlock the device fast enough. The iris scanner was satisfactory in terms of security, but the facial recognition complements it for a speed boost to allow users to unlock their device faster.
Galaxy S8 Security
This doesn't mean that facial recognition is better or more secure than the iris scanner, it's just faster. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ feature both facial recognition and iris scanning, but the video shows the facial recognition function being tricked by a photo. Consequently, while it may allow for faster unlocking, the facial recognition feature may not be as secure as the iris scanner or the fingerprint scanner.
It's worth pointing out, however, that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are yet to hit stores and ship to preorder customers. Samsung could update the facial recognition algorithms by the time the smartphones reach consumers.
In other words, the two Galaxy S8 smartphones seen in this video could be pre-production units with an older version of the facial recognition software, and Samsung could have addressed the vulnerability in the meantime. At the same time, since facial recognition is a matter of software rather than hardware, Samsung could also enhance its proficiency through over-the-air updates.
Bottom line, the video embedded at the end of this article shows the Galaxy S8 facial recognition being tricked by a photo, which could pose some serious security issues if not addressed. However, it remains to be seen whether the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are actually fooled this easily or have beefed up facial recognition.
As a reminder, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ went up for preorder already, but they won't actually become available until April 21.