- Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
Samsung’s newest security feature can easily be fooled.
The Samsung Galaxy S8, which launches April 21, has a new facial recognition feature that lets you unlock the phone just by looking into the front-facing camera. In a brief demo given to Business Insider last week, it was actually faster than using a fingerprint.
But it’s not a secure way to lock your phone, as the folks at iDeviceHelp discovered this week.
In a demo, which we first saw on The Verge, iDeviceHelp was able to fool the facial recognition feature with a photo. It took a little longer than normal for the S8 to register the photo, but it worked.
After the video was published, a Samsung spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement that facial recognition isn’t intended to be a secure feature. It’s just a way to open your phone to the home screen.
“Facial recognition is a convenient action to open your phone – similar to the ‘swipe to unlock’ action,” the spokesperson said. “We offer the highest level of biometric authentication – fingerprint and iris – to lock your phone and authenticate access to Samsung Pay or Secure Folder.”
The Galaxy S8 will also warn users who set up facial recognition that it’s not as secure as the fingerprint or iris scanners and that it could be tricked with images that look similar to your face.
But the fact that facial recognition is still an option to unlock your phone when it can easily be tricked is a bad move. Plus, there’s better technology already available that lets you unlock a device with your face, like Windows Hello, which uses special sensors to analyze the contours of your face. It’s so accurate that it can even tell identical twins apart.
Our advice: If you get the Galaxy S8, don’t use the facial recognition feature to lock your phone. Use a PIN, fingerprint, or the iris scanner instead.
And Samsung should stop touting facial recognition as a way to lock your phone. In fact, it should disable the feature altogether before the phone launches.
Here’s a video of iDeviceHelp tricking the Galaxy S8 with a photo: