Face Unlock on Google Pixel 4 works even when your eyes are shut

By Shubham Sharma | Published on 18 Oct 2019
Face Unlock on Google Pixel 4 works even when your eyes are shut

The Face Unlock feature on Google Pixel 4 works even when a user’s eyes are shut.

This is a potential privacy issue that can enable others to access to the phone.

Google’s support page reads that one can enter lockdown mode to deactivate face recognition.



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The newly announced Google Pixel 4 phones, which are not coming to India, have a major security issue related to the face authentication mechanism. The new smartphones come equipped with two NIR cameras on the front, along with a flood emitter and a dot projector, which together are supposed to enable a more secure face unlock authentication mechanism. However, it seems like the option works even when your eyes are closed. The face unlock option not working when your eyes are closed is quiṭe important. This is because no one wants someone else to simply pick up your phone, point it at your face and start digging through your gallery or WhatsApp messages. However, Chris Fox from BBC discovered that the Face Unlock option works on the Google Pixel 4 even when your eyes are closed.

Even the Face ID on Apple devices checks to ascertain whether a user is alert and staring at the screen before unlocking the device. The report notes that Google’s Pixel 4 support website states. "Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it's held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed." The phone doesn’t ship with a fingerprint sensor, and face unlock is an easier way to quickly get access, especially with that new Soli Radar chip. However, we aren’t sure whether one would want to risk using the option since it has a considerable privacy concern.

We have seen demonstrations of the face unlock authentication mechanism on Android, where it has been spoofed by simple print out of a person’s face. It took a 3D model of a face to fool Apple’s Face ID and while it is a given that face unlock is not extremely secure, it is a great feature to have on any smartphone for relatively faster phone unlocking. Google did tell BBC: "We will continue to improve Face Unlock over time," and that the face unlock feature on its Pixel 4 phones can’t be fooled by masks or photos. 

Shubham Sharma

Interested in tech, gaming, cyber-security, anime, and more

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