Galaxy S8’s facial recognition can be fooled by a photo

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Galaxy S8 in hand
Galaxy S8's facial recognition is just a bit of fun, apparently.
Photo: Samsung

Facial recognition is one of the myriad new features of the Samsung Galaxy S8, but only one a couple of days after the phone’s announcement, Samsung’s latest security method seems… well, a little bit unsecure.

Already a video has appeared online showing the phone being unlocked with a picture, while according to industry sources it’s a feature that’s designed to be no more than a bit of fun. Because security’s no fun, apparently.

It’s not yet known whether Samsung will improve the facial recognition algorithms by the time the phone makes its way into stores. The good news about this tech is that it can be updated via over-the-air updates, rather than being hardware based.

The surprising part is why Samsung would have used such an outdated facial recognition tool as it is. For years now, researchers have been coming up with the innovative ways to solve this very issue, such as getting users to blink to prove they’re human. (Not that such precautions are always infallible.)

“The phones can be unlocked by the face of a sleeping person, or even just by a photo,” an unnamed industry source told the Korea Herald. “For now, the facial recognition technology is only intended for fun. It should not be considered as a foolproof security measure.”

While the Samsung Galaxy S8 certainly looks like a good phone in a number of ways, it’s a reminder of why Apple sometimes takes longer to introduce new features. As we’ve seen through the expansion of Touch ID’s use case from security method for unlocking handsets to authorization method for paying for purchases on Apple Pay, Apple views biometrics as an important cornerstone of its security system going forwards.

Hopefully the facial recognition technology for the S8 was just an unfinished version for the product demo. We guess we’ll have to wait and see!

  • TJ

    Isn’t everything Samsung Mobile and Google provides basically an unfinished product demo that should get better in the future…

    • Lord Hotdog

      You can’t fool the iris scanner though

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  • DrMuggg

    “FBI friendly” security.