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July 10, 2012

Face Unlock feature on Android 4.1 becomes smarter

When Google announced the Galaxy Nexus running on Ice Cream Sandwich last year, one of its fancy features is the Face unlock. But we discovered that you can actually trick the lock screen by putting a picture of the registered face in front of the device. It’s not that secure after all.

While developing their latest buttery OS, Google decided to put in a little extra time to revisit this unlock feature and make it more secure.

They called it “Liveness Check”, an added security feature on Android Jelly bean that requires users to blink first in order to unlock the device. The reason we said that it’s just an added feature is because you’d have to manually and separately set it up from the Face Unlock.

This means you can still go for the basic and less secure face unlock or you can add more protection by switching on the Liveness Check. Pretty neat, right? But as early as now, we’ve already came up with a cunning way to trick this “added security feature” by placing another device while it’s playing a recorded clip of the registered face while blinking. We’ll sure to try it out once we get our hands on our Nexus 7.

The moral? Nothing beats a good hard-to-guess password/combination. It’s not full-proof, but it’ll sure give nosy bastards a run for their money.

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6 Responses to “Face Unlock feature on Android 4.1 becomes smarter”

  1. Roberto Lim says:

    In order to beat the original Face Unlock, the person who illegally obtained your phone would need a picture too. That being said, I still prefer pattern unlock. It’s much faster.

    • sherwin says:

      actually pattern lock, i wish they could make it just 3 dots to make a pattern similar to iPhones

  2. Bon says:

    Face Unlock is still more of a gimmick rather than a security feature. I’ve already tried it before and there are too many factors to consider. First, it doesn’t work well in bad lighting. Secondly, if you set your phone to unlock while smiling, try unlocking it while you’re NOT smiling. It won’t unlock. Lastly, the issue raised in this article about beating it with a picture. It’s just way too cumbersome. I agree that pattern unlock is still much better. It’s reliable and gets the job done in the least amount of time.

  3. foolish says:

    The moral? Nothing beats a good hard-to-guess password/combination. It’s not full-proof, but it’ll sure give nosy bastards a run for their money.

    you mean fool-proof

  4. Duds says:

    I think the face unlock is just an excuse for narcissism hehe.

  5. Jacob says:

    I;m a big gnex whore, but I think face unlock is a gimmick, nothing more. If you want security, encrypt your data on the phone. It might require a data wipe, though.

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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