Full frontal vulnerability: Photos can still trick, unlock Android mobes via facial recognition

Dutch consumer club names 42 easy-to-fool cameras

facial recognition

Smartphones have boasted facial recognition for some time, but tests in the Netherlands suggest it still falls short of properly securing many devices.

The tests, conducted by the country's Consumers Association, identified 42 smartphones out of 110 tested could be unlocked with only a high-quality photograph of the phone's owner.

That, the organisation claimed on Thursday, represented 38 per cent of the devices it tested. Good news, Apple fans: all the iPhones tested by the Consumers Association – nine out of the 110 tested – passed.

The 42 devices that failed the test included well-known names like Alcatel, Asus, Blackberry, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Xiaomi.

Not safe

The association's announcement noted that “when setting the face unlock, phones often show a warning that the technique is not as safe as others.”

PINs or lock patterns, the association said, are far more reliable than facial recognition.

Six devices with facial recognition support a “stricter” setting, which defeated unlocks attempted with photographs. These were Huawei's Honor 7A, and five LG ThinQ variants (the G7 series, V35, and V40 models).

The full table of devices that were and were not unlockable using a photograph are in the table below. ®

Can't unlock with a photo Unlocked with a photo
Alcatel 3V (5099D) Alcatel 1X
Alcatel 5 Asus Zenfone 5 Lite 64 GB
Apple iPhone XR (64, 128, 256 GB) Asus Zenfone 5, ZE620KL (64 GB)
Apple iPhone XS (64, 256, 512 GB) BlackBerry Key2 (US and non-US versions)
Apple iPhone XS Max (64, 256, 512 GB) BQ Aquaris X2
Asus Zenfone Max Plus (ZB570TL) BQ Aquaris X2 Pro
Honor 10 General Mobile GM8
Honor 7C HTC U11 +
Honor 8X Huawei P20 (EML - L29)
Honor View 10 Huawei P20 Lite
HTC U12 + (EU and US versions) Huawei P20 Pro (CLT - L29)
Huawei P Smart + Lenovo Motorola Moto E5 (BR and non-BR versions)
Huawei Y6 (2018) (ATU-L21) Lenovo Motorola Moto E5 Plus (BR version)
Huawei Y7 (2018) Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 Play
Huawei Mate 20 / Mate 20 Pro / Mate 20 Lite LG K9 (LM-X210EMW)
Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 (32, 64 GB) LG Q6 Alpha (LG-M700n)
Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 (US version) Motorola Moto G6 Play (BR version)
Lenovo Motorola Moto G6 Plus Motorola One
Lenovo Motorola Moto Z3 US version Nokia 3.1 (US and non-US versions)
Lenovo Motorola Moto Z3 Play Nokia 7.1
Lenovo Motorola Moto Z3 Play US version Oukitel VU
Motorola Moto G6 (BR version) Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
Motorola Moto G6 Plus (BR version) Samsung Galaxy A8 (32GB) (32, 64 GB)
One Plus 5T Samsung Galaxy A8 + (SM-A730F)
OnePlus 6 (64, 128, 256 GB) Samsung Galaxy J8 Brasil
OnePlus 6 (US version) (64 GB) Sony Xperia L2 (H3311)
Oppo Find X Sony Xperia L2 (H3321)
Samsung Galaxy A6 (32GB) Sony Xperia XZ2 (H8216 and US version)
Samsung Galaxy A6 + (32, 64 GB) Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (H8314 and US version)
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Dual SIM (H8324)
Samsung Galaxy J6 (2018) Sony Xperia XZ2 Dual SIM (H8266)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (128 GB) (EU version, BR version, dual and single SIM) Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium (US version)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 SM-N960U1 (US version) Sony Xperia XZ3
Samsung Galaxy S9 (SM-G960F / DS) Vodafone Smart N9
Samsung Galaxy S9 SM-G960U1 (US model) Xiaomi Mi A2
Samsung Galaxy S9 256GB Xiaomi Mi A2 (32GB)
Samsung Galaxy S9 dual (128GB)  
Samsung Galaxy S9 + (SM-G965F / DS)  
Samsung Galaxy S9 + 256GB  
Samsung Galaxy S9 + dual (128GB)  
Samsung Galaxy S9 + Single SIM  
Samsung Galaxy S9 + SM-G965U1 (US model)  

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