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News Google Pixel 4's Face Unlock Feature Works With Eyes Closed, Sparking Security

CyberPanda

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Google has ignited security concerns over the facial authentication system in its new Pixel 4 smartphone by admitting that it will unlock the device even when the user's eyes are shut.


Google unveiled the Pixel 4 this week to mostly positive reviews, many of which praised the phone for its super-fast new face unlock system, which replaces the fingerprint sensor and works much the same as Apple's Face ID on iPhones, except for one key security feature.

The BBC has discovered that the Pixel 4 can be unlocked even with the user's face even if they're sleeping (or pretending to be asleep). That contrasts with Apple's Face ID system, which engages by default an "Attention Aware" feature that requires the user's eyes to be open for the iPhone to be unlocked. Attention Aware can be disabled for convenience, but the Pixel 4 lacks an equivalent security feature entirely.

Proof, for those asking #madebygoogle#pixel4 pic.twitter.com/mBDJphVpfB
— Chris Fox (@thisisFoxx) October 15, 2019

To its credit though, Google isn't hiding this fact. A Google support page reads: "Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it's held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed. Keep your phone in a safe place, like your front pocket or handbag."

To "prepare for unsafe situations," Google recommends holding the power button for a couple of seconds and tapping Lockdown, which turns off notifications and face recognition unlocking.

In early leaks of the Pixel 4, screenshots revealed a "require eyes to be open" setting for face unlock, so it looks as if Google tried to implement a similar feature to Apple's Attention Aware, but couldn't get it working in time for the device's launch.


Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
Speaking before the launch, Pixel product manager Sherry Lin said: "There are actually only two face [authorisation] solutions that meet the bar for being super-secure. So, you know, for payments, that level - it's ours and Apple's."

Cyber-security experts disagree.

"If someone can unlock your phone while you're asleep, it's a big security problem," security blogger Graham Cluley told the BBC. "Someone unauthorized - a child or partner? - could unlock the phone without your permission by putting it in front of your face while you're asleep."

In a statement given to the BBC, Google said it would "continue to improve Face Unlock over time."
 
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Melon Melon is going to be in complete shambles when she finds out about this.
 
Last edited:
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OK, call me old school, but my company cellphone has a mandatory security code screen where you have to input a code/password to unlock it. Submit an incorrect code too many times and it gets locked out.

Is there something adversely wrong with such a simple security screen, instead of shit like face recognition?
 

Pagusas

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OK, call me old school, but my company cellphone has a mandatory security code screen where you have to input a code/password to unlock it. Submit an incorrect code too many times and it gets locked out.

Is there something adversely wrong with such a simple security screen, instead of shit like face recognition?

yeah it’s time consuming and annoying as hell, Esspecially when your company requires a 6 digit + passcode with more than just numbers, and required your phone to lock instantly when idle. You know how annoying not having a finger print or Face ID would be when dealing with that?
 
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yeah it’s time consuming and annoying as hell, Esspecially when your company requires a 6 digit + passcode with more than just numbers, and required your phone to lock instantly when idle. You know how annoying not having a finger print or Face ID would be when dealing with that?
I've never done a security code that isn't a 6 digit code. Seems easy to do. And I don't have to even look at the screen. Most of the time, I type in the code on the side.

Although the times it is annoying is when you forget your password. I've never had it lock on me, but a couple times my mind freezes and I forget my passcode..... and then on the fourth try it works.
 

MayauMiao

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It is so stupid for Google to ditch the fingerprint reader for Soli Kinect nonsense that's only useful for skipping songs which, according to most phone reviewers, is shoddy and gimmicky.
 
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longdi

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I tried the 4xl and it felt good but yeah too much cuts, even worse than apple.

Loved the non curved sides, smooth 90hz gui and screen looks good. But too expensive for the missing features. Google is retarded imo.
 
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Is this the Pixel that gives you very limited storage capacity, small battery, big ass bezels *or what ever they are called* no headphone jack and an asking PREMIUM PRICE? Shame on you Doogle, they never seem to get their hardware right.