Cracking the Face Recognition Lock on Android

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Since Android 4.0 is available, the user has the possibility to unlock his smartphone by looking in the front-camera. This feature is called face unlock.

Just some hours after Google has presented the new Android version including this feature, it was broken by some blogger who just hold a picture of the person the smartphone belongs to in front of the locked smartphone. As a proof, there are plenty videos on youtube. With this demonstration in mind, you have to come to the conclusion that face recognition isn’t a real lock feature, its more a fancy way of the old screen lock were you just have to swipe over the display.

In all fairness, Google did mention that face unlock is less secure than a pattern, pin or password and that someone that looks similar to you could unlock your phone, but they didn’t mention, that it is so easy to unlock it.

In other words:

  • just take a picture of the smartphone owner
  • hold this picture in front of the smartphone when unlocking it
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