Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ phones have lots of style and lots of substance . There are absolutely no two ways about it. But, they have one flaw, the criticality of which would depend upon how you perceive your ideal smartphone to be. Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have an insanely weird fingerprint scanner. Samsung, for the first time in what seems like forever, has moved it from the front on to the back.
The front, in the case of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, is clean and sans any buttons. Contrary to previous reports, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones do have a front-mounted home button, only that it is software-based now. The new invisible home button is pressure-sensitive and gives you haptic feedback when you press it, kind of how it is in the case of Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
What’s with that fingerprint scanner, Samsung?
Samsung, for the first time in what seems like forever, has also incorporated software-based back and recent keys which are editable. Sigh! You can now place the back key where it was always meant to be. On the left, of course! But, what’s with that fingerprint scanner, Samsung, is what the whole world seems to be asking.
No other smartphone in the world offers as many biometrics as Samsung’s new Galaxy S phones. That’s in addition to the more traditional pattern, password and PIN protection
The whole point of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ — and their USP feature, aka the Infinity display — was to build a phone that was big on paper and smaller in the hands. The Galaxy S8 (5.8-inch) and S8+ (6.2-inch) may seem huge on paper but they are actually not that intimidating in real life. They are very compact and reassuring when in the hands. All, but the fingerprint scanner. Rather, it sticks out like a sore thumb on an otherwise much sought after device.
Samsung has you covered though. Or not
Keep calm. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ may have a weird fingerprint scanner but that’s okay. In fact, it’s better that way. For your phone’s biggest vulnerability is your fingerprint.
Samsung’s new phones come with two additional biometric authentication features, an iris scanner and facial recognition, for added security. No other smartphone in the world offers as many biometrics as Samsung’s new Galaxy S phones. That’s in addition to the more traditional pattern, password and PIN protection.
“Each individual has a uniquely different and highly intricate iris pattern in each eye, which is fully developed at a very young age and remains unchanged throughout one’s lifetime. This, combined with the fact that iris patterns are almost impossible to replicate makes iris scanning one of the most secure and reliable biometric techniques available,” according to Samsung. As much as Samsung would want you to believe that iris scanning is full-proof, you must know that it isn’t. Just like your fingerprint, your iris scan can be faked and by-passed. As for facial recognition, well, even your face can be decoded to deceive, defraud and gain profit in illegal ways. Apps that allow someone to put on the face of another person during video calls have been around since 2011 and/or earlier.
The fight is, therefore, to be or not to be the one that’s the fastest to break through. Some would be by-passed easily, some not that easily.
“We use passwords to access Internet services. When a password is compromised, you can easily change it. Speaking of plastic credit cards, they can be quickly substituted as well — in a week or two — if they are lost or stolen. Imagine that you use parts of your body for identification, such as fingerprints or iris scans. Can you make new body parts, if cybercriminals make copies of the old ones?” according to cybersecurity and anti-virus provider Kaspersky .
Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is said to be the harbinger of change. It’s after all said to be more secure (and accurate) than Apple’s Touch ID, in fact, the safest of the current lot. But, “new technologies are always vulnerable — because they are new. It’s not enough to come up with yet another innovation — the thing is it has to be implemented in a secure way, and not all vendors are able to do that. And even if they cope with this task, they definitely won’t do it for version one,” Kaspersky adds .
All of the biometrics the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ ship with are meant to make your smartphone experience fast and secure. In real life though, they may be fast but they certainly aren’t safe enough. Which brings us back to the more traditional pattern, password and PIN protection. They may not be as fast, but, they are a lot more secure in comparison. You can call me a cynic, but, I’d rather spend my money on a well thought-out PIN or password than on a fingerprint to access my phone. As for the Galaxy S8 & S8+ and their weird fingerprint scanner, well, it doesn’t really matter. You can choose not to use it at all, and, ignore it completely. The iris scanner and facial recognition tech will have you covered. As for security, well, they are as vulnerable as your fingerprint, so you can do the math.