When facial recognition was introduced to Android, it was quickly discovered that the feature was merely a novelty because it was easily bypassed using a photo of the person who owns the device. Fast forward to today, and we’re sure many are wondering if Samsung has somehow found a way to fix that with the Galaxy S8.
It turns out that maybe they did not. According to a live stream broadcasted by the folks at Marcianotech (via Redmond Pie), they actually managed to bypass the Galaxy S8’s facial unlocking system using a photo that they took of themselves. At the moment it is unclear as to how that managed to work – was it because the photo was taken in a particular way? Or maybe the distance that the phone was held from the camera? Or maybe because facial recognition on phones is still iffy?
Samsung has yet to comment on this so we’re not sure if maybe this is because the software is still being worked on, or maybe it is a bug that Samsung will be addressing ahead of its release, but either way it doesn’t seem to bode well as far as features are concerned. However we should note that during our briefing of the Galaxy S8, someone tried to trick the phone using a photo and it did not work, so your mileage may vary.
Although Samsung has not discussed this at length during its S8 reveal, Samsung staff did mention to Ubergizmo that the face unlock was a “convenience” feature (lock young kids out), rather than a “security” feature. We also mentioned it in the review. Laptops used to have this kind of photo-unlock problems before using infra-red cameras can see one’s face in 3D. What’s important here is user awareness.
In any case the Galaxy S8 does have other security tools such as iris scanning and fingerprint scanning which other banking-level security, so if you’d rather not use the facial unlocking feature, there are other options that you can check out. Also, there is a “Vault” app that you can use to secure information, even if someone is already logged in. This is great for very sensitive information that is not accessed often.