Face recognition is easy to circumvent on many popular smartphones, according to research by the Consumers’ Association. Many devices can already be unlocked with a photo.
Face recognition detection smartphones unsafe
On the Huawei P20 Pro, Samsung Galaxy A8 and Sony Xperia XZ3 facial recognition can be bypassed with a photo, claims the Consumers’ Association. The organization looked at more than a hundred different Android smartphones, of which slightly less than half was easy to circumvent.
The list includes especially cheaper smartphones such as the Huawei P20 Lite, Xiaomi Mi A2and Nokia 3.1. These devices often only use the selfie camera to compare a flat scan of your face with the live image. Nevertheless, more expensive smartphones – such as the P20 Pro and Sony’s top devices – also offer insufficient protection.
However, security is also in order on many other recent top devices. For example, the facial recognition of, among others, the Samsung Galaxy S9, Note 9, Huawei Mate 20 Pro and iPhone XS can’t be circumvented with a photo.
The Consumentenbond says a total of 110 different smartphones tested. However, there are some notable smartphones in the full list. For example, nine versions of the Galaxy S9 have been tested, including a Brazilian model and variants with more storage spaces. The versions with 64, 128 and 256 GB are also tested separately from the OnePlus 6. That while the hardware and software used for face recognition should be identical on all models.
Manufacturers improve facial recognition
Many of the Android smartphones with poor security seem to use the built-in facial recognition of Android. It is known that it is relatively easy to circumvent. When activating this ‘Face Unlock’ option, the smartphone also warns that it is not the safest option.
Nevertheless, many users still opt for facial recognition, partly because of the convenience. That is why manufacturers are taking more and more steps to improve the security method. For example, Apple introduced Face ID, a set of cameras and sensors that, among other things, make a 3D scan of your face using infrared. Huawei and OnePlus are now also using slightly better facial recognition.