Android facial recognition unlock

Android 4.0, also named Ice Cream sandwich came out with a new phone unlock feature. Rather than unlocking the phone via a pin or password, the front facing camera uses facial recognition software to unlock the phone when it ‘sees’ the correct face.

However it’s been pointed out that holding up another phone to the camera with a picture of the correct person, the phone can be unlocked.

Seems like a cool feature although it seems like it can be easily bypassed. I think a pin or password is still the better route to go. It would be a nice feature better implemented when the software is smart enough to detect when a picture is being held up.

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9 thoughts on “Android facial recognition unlock

  1. I heard about this feature before and I think they tried fixing the problem about holding up a picture to unlock it. I’m not sure how though. Its pretty cool. They could also try fingerprint readers. I don’t know how much it would add to the cost of the phone, but it would be a cool feature to add to the phone.

  2. Multi-factor authentication would provide the best results but would also be the most inconvenient. Two-factor authentication (although more authentications would still be safer) will help a lot though, especially since most people don’t have ANY authentication for their phones at all. This facial recognition software plus a password would be great for security. But again, it still depends on the user of the phone and how often they plan to “log-in” to their phone.

    • To go along with the multi-factor authentication- Google has it so if you forget your phone login you can also login with your Google credentials.

  3. I think its pretty cool even though it still has some flaws it’s just a matter of time before we start using facial recognition as a key everywhere . it might be stronger though if they combined it with a finger print scanner

    • That would be pretty cool. I’m not sure how they would implement a finger print reader but sounds pretty cool. It will be interesting to see where this technology goes and how much it will improve in the next couple years.

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. The traditional 3 by 3 grid to unlock android phones seems much more secure than the awesome feature of facial recognition. Not very safe.

    • The problem with the 3×3 grid is that is fairly easy to see the finger patterns when held in the right light. Since that is the most common screen pattern that is usually done on the phone, it stands out the most with oil.

      In this regard it makes a huge difference what kind of screen protector you use because some are ridiculously easy to see.

      Check this out for visual:

  5. Fortunately not all face recognition solutions are the same. Sensible Vision is a leading supplier of authentication solutions. We have sold FastAccess facial recognition solution to over 5.5 million Windows users including many in high security, enterprise institutions. FastAccess has industry leading photo resistance. A sophisticated attack can still defeat virtually all security methods including FastAccess. This is why we it’s important to disclose possible vulnerabilities and offer simple and effective solutions. For example, FastAccess offers fast and convenient two factor authentication (using just part of the password or on touch devices a quick to draw gesture – very consistent with the above comment that two factor also needs to be convenient) that eliminates the possibility of a “replay attack” like the one used to defeat the Ice Cream Sandwich solution.

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