Samsung Electronics responded to the publication of a method for hacking the iris scanner of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus that was recently devised by a collective known as the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). In a statement sent to several media outlets shortly after the method was detailed on Tuesday, the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer asserted that the authentication technology powering the iris scanning solution integrated into the Galaxy S8 lineup has been tested in a “rigorous” manner during development and is capable of reliably identifying users. The company specifically stated that its solution was designed to avoid being tricked using a picture of one’s iris, though that’s essentially what CCC managed to accomplish. While Samsung acknowledged recent reports of its iris scanner being hacked, the Seoul-based tech giant suggested that it will investigate the issue like it would analyze any other possible vulnerability of its authentication technology.
The company’s initial response to the situation doesn’t reveal much, though Samsung is presumably already hard at work inspecting CCC’s method of compromising the iris scanner of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. If the hacking technique proves to be reliable, it’s unclear whether Samsung will be able to fix it through a software update and may only improve its iris scanning technology with the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 that’s scheduled to be released in the second half of the year. While the method itself technically revolved around taking a picture of a person’s iris, its mechanics were more complicated than that and required an infrared camera sensor and a contact lens. Regardless, taking a photo of an unsuspecting subject from a medium distance proved to be enough to trick the iris scanner of the Galaxy S8, meaning it may represent a significant security vulnerability.
Many cyber security experts previously warned about the shortfalls of contemporary iris scanning solutions, stating that lengthy passwords are still the most secure method of locking one’s smartphone. Regardless, the latest turn of events is unlikely to significantly affect the commercial performance of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus that are currently enjoying an overwhelmingly positive reception from consumers and have reportedly sold more than five million units in less than a month on the market.