Biometrics seem to be a tricky thing on some of this year’s flagship smartphones. We’ve recently heard that the Samsung Galaxy S10 can be easily tricked into being unlocked by a fingerprint that’s not even registered with a phone (though Samsung is working on a fix), and now we’re hearing about Google’s latest and greatest.
Apparently, the Pixel 4 can be unlocked via Face Unlock even if the person’s eyes are closed. This means that if someone steals your phone, or wants access to it, it’s enough to hold it up to your face, and it will unlock, regardless of whether your eyes are open or not. This is confirmed by Google on its support page: “your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed“.
“If someone can unlock your phone while you’re asleep, it’s a big security problem“, said cyber-security expert Graham Cluley, cited by BBC. According to Google, the Pixel 4 can’t be unlocked by pictures of the registered face, or by wearing masks though. Google also said the company was continuously improving Face Unlock, which, with time, will hopefully combine attention detection with Face Unlock, similar to Apple’s Attention Aware feature on the iPhone.