Samsung Galaxy S8’s Facial Recognition System Fooled Using a Photo


While Apple is rumored to introduce facial scanning with the iPhone 8 later this year, Samsung beat the Cupertino company to the punch by introducing the feature first with its recently unveiled Galaxy S8. However, a new video shows that the Galaxy S8’s facial recognition system can be easily fooled with the help of a photo.

While the Galaxy S8’s facial recognition system could not be fooled in the first attempt itself, all it took was a few tries in a room with plenty of light to get the facial scanner to verify the photo and unlock the device.

This is not the first time that we are seeing the facial recognition feature on a phone being fooled by using a photo. And there is a reason as to why the Galaxy S8 comes with an iris scanner, which is more secure than a simple facial unlock.

Samsung’s executives themselves admitted at the launch event of the S8 that the facial unlock mechanism is not as secure as other biometric authentication systems present on the handset like iris scanning and fingerprint unlock. This perhaps also explains as to why facial unlock cannot be used as a form of verification for Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass on the device. Samsung knew facial unlock is not as secure and ensured that it cannot be used for accessing sensitive data.

The Galaxy S8 is not the first handset to feature a facial recognition system. Google had debuted Face Unlock feature in Android with the Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) update back in 2012. Even then, the feature was susceptible to being fooled by using a photograph, so it is not surprising to see the Galaxy S8 fall for the same trap.

If Apple does end up debuting a revolutionary 3D selfie camera, it is possible that the facial unlock system on the handset will be smart enough to avoid being fooled by a similar trick. This is because the 3D camera would need all the data points first to map the user’s face in 3D, which photos simply lack.

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