SMARTPHONES from Samsung, Nokia and Motorola can be tricked into unlocking simply by holding up a photo of the owner, a “which?” investigative claims.
It found seven major brands have weak facial recognition technology that millions use to protect their phones and payment apps.
The consumer advocate tested 48 devices and found that 19 of them were easy to manipulate.
The photos used were not even of high quality, just printouts on paper that met the standard standard.
Of the devices tested, most devices failed at Xiaomi, a total of seven.
Motorola had four, while Nokia, Oppo and Samsung had two each.
Honor and Vivo had one.
All Apple iPhones Which? tested passed the spoofing tests.
The consumer rights group is now urging all owners of any of the affected phones to turn off facial recognition now and use a fingerprint sensor or PIN instead.
“It’s unacceptable for brands to sell phones that can be easily fooled using a 2D photo, especially if they don’t make their customers aware of this vulnerability,” said Lisa Barber, Which? Technical Editor.
Most read in “Phones and Gadgets”.
“Our findings have really worrying implications for people’s security and vulnerability to fraud.”
The mobile phones affected are:
- honor 70
- Motorola Razr 2022, Motorola Moto E13, Motorola Moto G13, Motorola Moto G23
- Nokia G60 5G, Nokia X30 5G
- Oppo A57, Oppo A57s
- Samsung Galaxy A23 5G, Samsung Galaxy M53 5G
- Vivo Y76 5G
- Xiaomi POCO M5, Xiaomi POCO M5s, Xiaomi POCO X5 Pro, Xiaomi 12T, Xiaomi 12T Pro, Xiaomi 12 Lite, Xiaomi 13
Which? points out that in the UK, users can use Google Wallet to make contactless payments up to £45 without having to unlock the phone via face verification.
According to Google, higher-value transactions require users to use a more secure class 3 biometric unlock.
This should mean that people using the models, which? were unable to complete transactions over £45 when using face recognition to unlock the phone.
Samsung replied that it offers different levels of biometric authentication, with the highest level of authentication being through the fingerprint reader.
Nokia confirmed the affected phones have facial recognition software that doesn’t have permissions for third-party apps and is telling customers the phone can be unlocked by someone who looks a lot like them.
No problems were found in our own tests with printed images.
Honor, Motorola, Oppo and Xiaomi did not respond to which ones? with comment.
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