Facial recognition on Android 4.0 has some bugs

A new feature of the new Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich, has a new feature that will allow you to unlock the phone using facial recognition. Though if you prefer security over convenience you should try not to use this new feature.

As seen in a video created by a mobile blog, the face unlock feature can be fooled by showing it an image of the face used to set up the locking mechanism.  You can do this by taking a picture with one phone and holding it up to another to try to fool the unlock feature.

A google representative has stated that it is considered a low security and experimental way of locking your phone and the interface warns users the face unlock is less secure than a pattern, pin, or password and that someone who looks similar to you could unlock your phone.

So this poses the question do I use this new feature because of the ease of use and the convenience even though it has been show that it has weakness and vulnerabilities. Good has said that they have started looking into the problem and that because Android 4.0 has not been released yet they are still working out the experimental system.

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11 thoughts on “Facial recognition on Android 4.0 has some bugs

  1. If you read “Secrets and Lies” Bruce Schneier talks about how facial recognition can be fooled using this technique.

  2. I’m surprised no biometric authentication has been developed yet. With touchscreens everywhere, you would think the technology would be able to read fingerprints. On a phone, this a no-brainer authentication method since you’re going to be using your fingers anyway.

    • That’s what I though too, because fingerprint readers are effective in providing biometric authentication. It has been around for a while, so why don’t they incorporate them in more mobile devices.

  3. Any physical thing can be forged, played with, even if people find some authentication through such a complex things as DNA someone can bring a hairpiece rather than forcing the system to make a mistake by several DNA coding or sequences. Whether the sequence is sesame or DNA in the end it is hard to find the perfect safe impossible to open.

  4. Yeah Schneier does talk about beating facial recognition software that way but when you look at it the way you said that it was about commercial security and not a consumer device, then yes I mean it isnt gonna be the best in the world and probably the pattern lock or the pin lock would be better.

  5. They’ve had facial recognition for laptops for a while now. It’s never seemed to work very well.

  6. I wonder if there is a threshold of security for this type of authentication? Can the device be set up to only accept the face if it has a high degree of certainty?

  7. I can’t really trust a facial recognition system like this. It reminds me of the ones on some asus computers and those suck. Not to mention if my facial hair changes or something like that…its a nice gimmick but not very useful.

  8. The ease of this feature does not outweigh its security loss. It is just as easy to type in a 4 digit pin and have greater security. Anyone can get a photo of you, especially if you have a Facebook. Thus if they wanted to bad enough they could get access to your phone if it only uses that facial recognition tool.

  9. On my Droid X2 it seems like it would be annoying to use this anyway, the camera is on the opposite side of the screen, to point it at my face I also can’t see the screen, making it so I just have to guess if its pointing at my face well. Not worth the effort and not secure.

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