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Samsung: Iris scanner hack is highly improbable

After a video surfaced of hackers fooling a Galaxy S8 iris scanner, Samsung was quick to defend its technology.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Can you trick the Samsung Galaxy S8's iris scanner or can't you? One group said yes, but Samsung cried foul.

The story so far

This week a German group of hackers named the Chaos Computer Club showed how you could trick the Galaxy S8's iris scanner with a photograph of someone's eye and a contact lens. The hackers' video went viral.

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Chaos Computer Club

Samsung says

Samsung retorted that the hack was unrealistic, The Korea Herald reported.

"You need a camera that can capture infrared light (used in the video), which is no longer available in the market," a Samsung spokesperson told The Korea Herald. "Also, you need to take a photo of the owner's iris and steal his smartphone. It is difficult for the whole scenario to happen in reality."

While this isn't out of the realm of possibility for a dedicated thief, CNET has tried and failed at fooling a Galaxy S8 iris scanner with a life-size color photo of an editor's face.

The thing about biometrics is

Biometric data -- like fingerprint reading and iris scans -- is quickly becoming the gold standard for smartphone security. Not only do they protect you from data-snatchers, but your fingertips and eyeballs also are your key to Samsung Pay and Android Pay on the Galaxy S8. That makes mobile security a big deal.

Exposing weaknesses in this engineered hack and others (like this and this) reveals the areas where the phone industry needs to work harder on data and financial security as a whole.

The hackers' final word...for now

Dirk Engling, a spokeperson for the hackers, said that if you want to protect the data on your phone or use it for payment, a PIN is safer than using your body parts for authentication.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.

Read next: Which Galaxy S8 unlock option is the most secure?