The face unlock feature on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series has turned out to be highly insecure. As the below video shows, it can be easily fooled by simply holding one’s photo or by playing a video containing the owner’s face in front of the device.
In a bid to achieve a near bezel-less front on the Galaxy S10 series, Samsung ditched the iris sensor on its devices. This also means that apart from the in-display fingerprint scanner, Samsung now only relies on the front camera to offer face unlock on its Galaxy S10 series.
Samsung has always claimed that its face unlock mechanism is insecure and recommended customers to use the slightly slower iris scanner which it included on its flagship devices until the Galaxy S9 and Note 9. With the company giving the iris scanner a boot on the Galaxy S10 series, it should have worked on improving the overall security of its face unlock mechanism but sadly that’s not the case. As the below video shows, face unlock on the Galaxy S10 can be easily fooled.
Samsung realizes this which is why it does not use face unlock as an authentication method for carrying out Samsung Pay transactions.
Samsung is not the only OEM guilty of shipping its phones with an insecure face unlock method though. OnePlus, Motorola and other Android OEMs also rely solely on the front camera of their phones to offer face unlock which is absolutely not secure. These OEMs have focused more on unlocking speed instead of accuracy and security. These OEMs do try and make up for the insecure face unlock by including an in-display fingerprint scanner on their devices.
This is in stark contrast to Apple’s approach in which the company uses its sophisticated TrueDepth sensor system for Face ID on the iPhone X and iPhone XS. The catch is that while Face ID is more secure and cannot be fooled using such tactics, it takes a wee bit longer to unlock the device. Plus, since it has a higher base accuracy level, it will fail to unlock the device if the user’s face is not clearly visible unlike the Galaxy S10 or other devices. Due to the higher security level offered by Face ID, Apple does not include Touch ID on its iPhones anymore.
It is due to this reason as well that we are not going to see Apple adopt a hole-punch design for the iPhone in the near future. All the sensors required by Face ID need to be located somewhere in the front which is where the notch comes in.