Face Unlock on Galaxy Nexus Can be Bypassed with a Digital Photo

The announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus powered by Android 4.0 (code named  Ice Cream Sandwich) was filled with excitement, and fans were thrilled with the overflowing list of new features and improvements included in the latest firmware release. One of the most interesting and eye-catching feature was the Face Unlock, which allows users to unlock their phone using the face recognition technology.

Android 4.0 Face Unlock

Although the phone is smart and undoubtedly cool, one question that strikes our mind is, whether the feature is secured or not? The Face Unlock feature is new to Android and people have been wondering how safe the feature is. SoyaCincau, a tech review site revealed that the Face Unlock feature can be bypassed with a digital photo. The author managed to bypass the facial recognition unlock by simply posing a digital photo in front of the phone, and the phone just unlocked itself without any difficulties. Well, that sounds creepy!

Also Read:  Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Apple iPhone 4S

The user was able to unlock the Galaxy Nexus, which was programmed to recognize his actual face, by using a picture of himself.    He posted a video on his blog, which has gone viral and has created a lot of buzz of late –

A Google representative was contacted by CNET and told that the feature is still in beta and is considered “experimental”, and provides a low level security.   Even the interface warns users that “Face Unlock is less secure than a pattern, PIN, or password” and that “Someone who looks similar to you could unlock your phone.”

Koushik Dutta, a developer of the Android after-market firmware replacement CyanogenMod, curiously asked in a tweet whether the feature would unlock the device using a photo. In reply to that, Google’s Tim Bray denied it by saying – “Nope. Give us some credit.”

Some of the users thought that this was done by using a trick; however, the user updated the YouTube description to address the question – whether he programmed the phone to recognize his face or the picture –

While some of you think that it is a trick and I had set the Galaxy Nexus up to recognise the picture, I assure you that the device was set up to recognise my face. I have a few people there watching me do the video and if any one of them is watching this video I hope you can confirm that this test is 100% legit.


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Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.