Facial Recognition Feature on Galaxy S8 Bypassed Using Just a Photo

The security of the facial recognition feature on Samsung's new Galaxy S8 smartphone has come into question, after a video was shared online that appears to show one of the handsets being unlocked by waving a photo of the user's face in front of the camera.

The YouTube video embedded below, recorded at the S8 launch event, shows the registered user of the device presenting a picture of himself to the phone's front-facing camera. After a couple of attempts, the phone recognizes the close-up selfie as the user's face, and the lock screen is subsequently bypassed.


Video posted by iDeviceHelp

Last month it was reported that Samsung had decided to add facial recognition to the Galaxy S8 because of late doubts about the speed and reliability of the iris scanning feature also included in phone, so it's possible that the software algorithms still require some fine-tuning. However, it's more likely that Samsung's cameras rely on standard 2D facial recognition technology, which past demonstrations have shown can be easily tricked with two-dimensional photos, suggesting use as a standalone authentication feature remains limited.

Indeed, in a statement given to ArsTechnica, Samsung explained that facial recognition cannot be used to authenticate mobile payments or to access the device's Secure Folder, both of which require the use of the phone's other biometric features.

The Galaxy S8 provides various levels of biometric authentication, with the highest level of authentication from the iris scanner and fingerprint reader. In addition, the Galaxy S8 provides users with multiple options to unlock their phones through both biometric security options, and convenient options such as swipe and facial recognition. It is important to reiterate that facial recognition, while convenient, can only be used for opening your Galaxy S8 and currently cannot be used to authenticate access to Samsung Pay or Secure Folder.

Apple is said to be including both iris scanning and a facial recognition feature in this year's high-end "iPhone 8" device. The OLED iPhone is rumored to have a "revolutionary" front-facing camera system with infrared 3D sensing capabilities, which may go some way to overcoming the facial authentication limitations such as those found in Samsung's device. Apple is also thought to be embedding its Touch ID fingerprint technology into a modified Samsung OLED display.

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Top Rated Comments

profets Avatar
94 months ago
Apple brings Touch ID: Media goes into a frenzy about how Apple is collecting our fingerprints.

Samsung does Iris, facial and fingerprint scanning: Nice of them to offer so much choice.
Score: 85 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fzang Avatar
94 months ago
This was the facial recognition not the iris scanner alao don't forget that the iPhone touch Id was bypassed by a nipple.
Bypassed or used with? Those are entirely different scenarios.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adamneer Avatar
94 months ago
Since you generally have to hold your phone to use it, I cannot imagine what could possibly be quicker and easier than an ultra-fast and reliable fingerprint scanner like Touch ID.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MRxROBOT Avatar
94 months ago
Ha! Well that was quick!!
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wowereit Avatar
94 months ago
So you can choose between secure Iris scanning which is slow as ****, unreliable and requires you to hold your phone in an awkward angle to your face and fast Face Recognition, which is as secure as a 2 digit passcode.

Cool.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BlueCreek Avatar
94 months ago
Just to make sure: we're talking about the facial recognition feature that has been present in Android for years and that has never been secure (and is also labelled as such in the OS). The S8 also comes with retina scan and a fingerprint scanner.
[doublepost=1491046645][/doublepost]

Have you ever used an iris scanner? Didn't think so.
Have you even read the article? It says the iris scanner is slow and unreliable, so what's your problem?
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)