Science

Google Pixel 4 can be unlocked with your eyes closed

By Anurag Hegde

The all new Google Pixel 4 has been on the hype train even much before its release on October 15th due to extensive leaks. Some might even argue that it’s been the most leaked smartphone. However, now just a week after its release it’s back on the news. But this time, its for all the wrong reasons.

The Pixel 4 brought in many exciting features that were much anticipated by enthusiasts including a buttery smooth 90hz OLED display and an enhanced camera software which made it capable of astrophotography. However, to the disappointment of many, Google did make some questionable decisions about the Pixel 4. Google, unlike many of its competitors opted to include a secondary 2x telephoto camera instead of an ultrawide. It also completely ditched the dreaded ‘notch’ design and instead went for a thick ‘forehead’ to include a range of sensors, including a radar sensor which Google have since extensively marketed as ‘motion sense’. They have also done away with the fingerprint sensor and instead included an infrared sensor to enable ‘biometric safe’ face unlock. However this has come under much scrutiny since, as users reported that the phone could be unlocked even with their eyes closed. Google themselves confirmed the speculation and said that they are working on a software update which could potentially fix the problem. This comes as a serious security flaw as this can provide unauthorized access to the phone simply by pointing the device at the owner’s face, for example when they’re asleep. To add insult to injury, Google responded by saying that users must keep their phones in a ‘safe location’ or can switch on the ‘lockdown mode’ – which simply deactivates facial recognition.

With the Pixel 4’s tech being the only other face unlock that meets the security requirements as a strong biometric apart from Apple’s Face Id, it’s disappointing to see such a serious flaw that could potentially act as a deterrent for customers wanting to use face unlock.

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