BBC Discovers Security Flaw in Pixel 4’s Facial Unlocking System

Image via CNET
The two-toned coloured Google Pixel 4 has been announced three days ago on Tuesday. It introduces gesture control when you need to use your phone with your dirty hands, a face recognition camera similar to Face ID and a new Google Assistant that can open apps for you. Now, there is one security issue with the face recognition camera which can compromise the privacy of the Pixel 4.

The issue is that the facial recognition camera can even unlock the phone when the user’s eyes are closed, even if they are sleeping. A British news company named BBC stated that this security flaw conflicts with the stringent security practices put into Apple’s Face ID feature, which engages the Attention Aware setting by default. The setting is supposed only to unlock the device when the user’s eyes are open and can be disabled by the user’s choice.

Although, Google’s Support states the procedures used to prevent this issue from reoccurring in the future. The document stated,
“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, learn how to turn on lockdown.” 
Google recommends users to store their Pixel with the frontal camera not visible, like placing their phone face down and putting the Pixel in a pocket with the front camera facing out. If the user prefers to hold their Pixel phone with the screen facing forward, then they can turn on the Lockdown setting to prevent unintentional facial unlocking and to snooze out those notifications.

All in all, Google already provided a statement to the BBC that they’ll be improving the facial recognition technology over time. They should be releasing a bug fix for this security bug in a few weeks.

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