Shocking! Samsung Galaxy S8's iris scanning security hacked with a simple photo


The Samsung S8's iris recognition security feature has been shown to be easily bypassed with "basic tools" by German hackers.

Based on name alone, the futuristic iris-scanning feature on the Galaxy S8 sounds like it would be the most secure way to lock your phone.

The easiest way for a thief to capture iris pictures is with a digital camera in night-shot mode or the infrared filter removed.

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The CCC was able to use everyday items like a camera, a regular printer, and contact lenses to unlock a Galaxy S8 using its iris scanner, which is an alternative to the fingerprint sensor. "Under some circumstances, a high-resolution picture from the internet is sufficient to capture an iris", said Dirk Engling, spokesperson for the CCC. (Android phones are susceptible to a similar hack.) He said the same is true for iris patterns used for authentication.

Now the group say they fooled the S8's iris recognition system by using a standard digital camera that was set to shoot in night mode.

Next, they adjusted the image so the iris was about actual size and output on a laser printer. The Chaos Computer Club figured out how to trick the iris recognition technology, and it was surprisingly simple. The facial recognition feature of the Samsung Galaxy S8 was defeated even before it went on sale, and now, the phone's eye-scanning security technology has proved fallible too.

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Of course, this means that in theory, someone could steal your Galaxy S8 and trick the iris scanner in order to make online payments using apps like Samsung Pay. The iris scanner, like the fingerprint sensor, provides a second layer of biometric authentication to the device, helping in keeping information safe.

The Galaxy S8 is the first smartphone in the market to have been released with iris recognition. According to the photo, the phone would be 6.3 inches of display with no curved edges.

However, security researchers in Germany have discovered the new iris scanner isn't almost as secure as one might expect. The CCC has previously demonstrated how fingerprint readers can be similarly spoofed: In 2014, the group successfully unlocked the phone of Germany's Defense Minister by taking a photo of her finger and using it to create a false fingerprint. Princeton Identity, Inc. has made this revolutionary way of biometric authentication by using infrared illumination to detect the involuted structures of the iris.

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