Published: Mon, October 21, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google will fix Pixel 4 face unlock issue with 'eyes open' update

Google will fix Pixel 4 face unlock issue with 'eyes open' update

It's another thing Google cheekily gives to Pixel devices first before rolling out to other Android-powered phones.

The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL aren't even available yet and there's a serious security flaw been discovered in the way their super-fast Face Unlock feature works. "We've been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months", it told technology website The Verge.

Google's Pixel 4 Assistant support document also mentions the G Suite restriction (in an imprecise way) but it doesn't state that having a G Suite account alongside a standard Google/Gmail account will interfere, though it does.

Last week it was found that Pixel 4's Face Unlock would work even when a users' eyes were shut. The main issue was that you could unlock the phone with your eyes closed - so, in theory, someone could hold the device up to your sleeping (or unconscious) face, and open the device without your knowing. While Apple in its official support page claims that "statistical probability (of Face ID failure) is different for twins and siblings that look alike and among children under the age of 13", the GadgetsNow team tested this out and was successful in unlocking an iPhone XR with Face ID by simply showing it to the owner's identical twin, both aged above 30.

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According to Google representatives, "Pixel 4 Face Unlock meets the security requirements as a strong biometric".

"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. You can disable the Face Unlock on the Pixel 4. In response, the firm remained tight-lipped on if it plans to release it in full or not.

There is, instead, a "Screen attention" feature on the Pixel 4 that Google could use for enhancing the face unlock feature. It can be added directly to the power menu option for quick access, and each time you enable the feature, it will force the user to enter a PIN.

It doesn't appear to be an oversight, either, since one of the many, many, many Pixel 4 leaks showed a setting in the face unlock menu labelled, "Require eyes to be open".

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