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Technology Google’s Pixel 4 face unlock has one major privacy weakness

21:45  17 october  2019
21:45  17 october  2019 Source:   theverge.com

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Google came up with its own face unlock system for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL using those advanced sensors in the phone’s top bezel. And it’s very fast. But BBC News reporter Chris Fox has noticed an alarming privacy concern with Google ’ s face unlock : it works even if your eyes are fully closed.

Or anyone who has been roofied or had their privacy invaded by a lover, a vengeful ex or a stalker. When Engadget reached out to Google for comment, we asked them how something like this could've slipped past its Pixel 4 face unlock meets the security requirements as a strong biometric, and can

Google came up with its own face unlock system for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL using those advanced sensors in the phone’s top bezel. The technology behind it is similar to Apple’s Face ID, and aside from just letting you into your phone, Google believes face unlock is secure enough to serve as an authentication method across Android. (There’s no more fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4, remember.) And it’s very fast. But BBC News reporter Chris Fox has noticed an alarming privacy concern with Google’s face unlock: it works even if your eyes are fully closed.

a hand holding a cellphone© Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

A support page about face unlock directly confirms as much. “Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it’s held up to your face, even if your eyes are closed,” the page reads. “Keep your phone in a safe place, like your front pocket or handbag.” You’ll want to follow that advice at night since face unlock would also work if you’re sound asleep.

Google Pixel 4 rumors: 'Face ID', gesture controls, leaks, design, specs, price and more

Google Pixel 4 rumors: 'Face ID', gesture controls, leaks, design, specs, price and more Google's next flagship is definitely on its way. Keep tabs on the other rumors about the Pixel 4 and 4 XL.

The Google Pixel 4 just launched and it is yet another Pixel launch with a problem cropping up. India fans were left disappointed because the Pixel 4 is Now it looks like the new Face Unlock feature on Pixel 4 has a problem. According to reports, the Pixel 4 ’ s can be unlocked if someone just points the

Google has confirmed the Pixel 4 smartphone's Face Unlock system can allow access to a person's device even if they have their eyes closed. The Verge: Google ’ s Pixel 4 face unlock has one major privacy weakness . Android Authority: Google ’ s Pixel 4 launches with face unlock security flaw.

This is a risk factor that iPhones don’t share. By default, Apple’s Face ID requires attention — meaning your eyes need to be open and actively looking at the iPhone or iPad Pro screen — to successfully unlock a device. This setting, which Apple says is an added security measure, can be disabled in settings if a customer so chooses. But Apple clearly states that “requiring attention makes Face ID more secure.”

For the Pixel 4, there’s no such option — not yet, at least. There’s evidence that Google is working on it. Among the countless Pixel 4 leaks, you might’ve missed a photo of this screen with an option to “require eyes to be open” for face unlock to work.

a hand holding a flower© Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

However, according to Fox, this toggle is not present on the Pixel 4’s software that will ship to consumers next week. When reached by The Verge, Google didn’t say one way or the other whether this added layer of security is definitely coming. “We don’t have anything specific to announce regarding future features or timing, but like most of our products, this feature is designed to get better over time with future software updates,” a spokesperson said by email.

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Google confirms Pixel 4 face unlock works with eyes closed. New York (CNN) One of the major security features of the new Google Pixel 4 smartphone is that it can be unlocked through facial Google warns on its Face Unlock support page that the feature could be misused: "Your phone can

If you have a Pixel 4 , you can use your face to: Unlock your phone Confirm payments Sign in to some apps. Your phone uses these face models to improve face unlock so that, over time, your phone can Your face models don’t go to any other Google services or apps. To delete your face models

Maybe you’re wondering why this matters. Well, aside from snooping friends or partners, the Pixel 4’s face unlock (in its current state) could make it easier for authorities to unlock a seized device without the owner’s permission. If all it takes is pointing the phone at your face, that’s not great.

But there is one way Pixel 4 buyers can prevent that possibility until Google rolls out a fix.

Google is reminding customers about Android’s lockdown function, which completely disables biometric authentication and will only unlock a phone if and when the PIN is entered. Lockdown can now be added directly to the power menu options on Pixel phones for fast access if you find yourself in a situation where you urgently need to thwart prying eyes — like so:

a screenshot of a cell phone© Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

iOS has a similarly quick trick: you can just hold down the power button and one of the volume buttons until you see the power down menu (or feel a vibration if you’re not looking at the phone), after which Face ID is temporarily disabled until the PIN is entered.

Here’s how to add a shortcut for lockdown to your power options in Android 10, which is what the Pixel 4 ships with:

  • Open settings
  • Choose Display
  • Expand the “Advanced” section at the bottom
  • Tap on “Lock screen display”
  • Enable “Show lockdown option”

Aside from disabling face unlock, lockdown also turns off smart lock (so your trusted Bluetooth devices won’t unlock the phone if they’re still on you) and hides notifications from the lock screen.

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