Face unlock easily defeated with photo in over 30 smartphone models

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LG V40 Notch Face Unlock

We’ve seen a resurgence in face unlock across the mobile industry, arguably due to Apple’s iPhone X touting the technology. Unfortunately, a new study shows that plenty of phones can be defeated with a simple photo.

The Dutch Consumentenbond organization found that out of 110 devices tested, 42 could be unlocked with a high quality photo of the owner (h/t: The Register). To be fair, the organization counted regional and dual-SIM variants as separate models in its testing, so the real number of dodgy devices is actually in the 30s.

Nevertheless, this still represents a massive number of devices that are vulnerable to a simple photo. The list wasn’t restricted to a few manufacturers either, as the likes of Alcatel, BlackBerry, Huawei, Lenovo, Nokia, Sony, and Xiaomi were all featured here.

Most of these phones were budget devices, but we also have a few flagships affected by shoddy face unlock. These devices include the HTC U11 Plus, the Huawei P20 Pro, and Sony’s Xperia XZ2 series.

There were plenty of devices that passed the test, however, including the Alcatel 3V, Honor 10, HTC U12 Plus, Huawei Mate 20 series, the OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 6, and Samsung’s 2018 flagships. Additionally, all 2018 iPhone models passed the test. Oddly enough, the consumer watchdog also counted different storage variants as separate entries. Weird.

Anyway, the organization found that several unlocked devices had more stringent face unlock settings to defeat photos, such as LG’s 2018 flagships and the Honor 7A. You can check out the full list below.

Remains locked Unlocked with photo Unlocked with photo, but has “stricter” setting
Alcatel 3 Alcatel 1X Honor 7A
Alcatel 5 Asus Zenfone 5 Lite LG G7 ThinQ
Apple iPhone XR Asus Zenfone 5, ZE620KL LG V35 ThinQ
Apple iPhone XS BlackBerry Key2 LG V40 ThinQ
Apple iPhone XS Max BQ Aquaris X2
Asus Zenfone Max Plus BQ Aquaris X2 Pro
Honor 10 General Mobile GM8
Honor 7C HTC U11 Plus
Honor 8X Huawei P20
Honor View 10 Huawei P20 Lite
HTC U12 Plus Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei P Smart Plus Motorola Moto E5
Huawei Y6 2018 Motorola Moto E5 Plus
Huawei Y7 2018 Motorola Moto G6 Play
Huawei Mate 20 LG K9 (LM-X210EMW)
Huawei Mate 20 Lite LG Q6 Alpha (LG-M700n)
Huawei Mate 20 Pro Motorola Moto G6 Play
Motorola Moto G6 Motorola One
Motorola Moto G6 Plus Nokia 3.1
Motorola Moto Z3 Nokia 7.1
Motorola Moto Z3 Play Oukitel VU
OnePlus 5T Samsung Galaxy A7 2018
OnePlus 6 Samsung Galaxy A8 (SM-A530F/DS)
Oppo Find X Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (SM-A730F)
Samsung Galaxy A6 Samsung Galaxy J8
Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus Sony Xperia L2 (H3311 and H3321)
Samsung Galaxy A9 Sony Xperia XZ2 (H8216 and H8266)
Samsung Galaxy J6 Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact (H8314 and H8324)
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
Samsung Galaxy S9 Sony Xperia XZ3
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Vodafone Smart N9
Wiko View 2 Xiaomi Mi A2

If anything, we hope this study shames brands into paying more attention to facial recognition. Do you use face unlock on your smartphone? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Samsung Bixby to support Google apps, first 5G phone coming in H1 2019

via Android Authority

January 7, 2019 at 09:10PM