Galaxy Nexus Ice Cream Sandwich face unlock duped: video

As I am sure most of the Android faithful are aware, other than Android Ice Cream Sandwich being one of the big attractions with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus another features is that face unlock, whereby the smartphone can recognise the users face and unlocks without having to enter a pin and such, but it appears that the face unlock feature can be duped.

We have a video for your viewing consideration below courtesy of the guys over at Technobuffalo and by way of YouTube user Soyacincautv, which shows that the face unlock feature on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been compromised.

It appears, as evidence in said footage that the face unlock feature can be fooled into operating by using a photograph of the user rather than having to use the real mug, which of course raises a question that if someone took a photo of your face and then got hold of your Galaxy Nexus they could easily unlock the device.

If this duping of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich feature as confined to a one off one could believe it was just an accident; however as you will see in the footage below, the guy manages to use that face unlock on the Galaxy Nexus three times by showing the device an image of himself on the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Which leads one to believe that unless the Google guys can get aboard this compromise and make sure it isn’t possible it would appear that the face unlock can’t be relied upon and that makes it pretty useless wouldn’t you agree?

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18 thoughts on “Galaxy Nexus Ice Cream Sandwich face unlock duped: video”

  1. Guest says:

    I guess this is news? But anyone who didn’t think this was possible/easy should actually think about it for 10 seconds.

    Without multiple cameras it’s impossible to get a 3d perspective to determine if it is an image or a real person there. So yeah, it’s going to be easy to fool… but nothing says it still isn’t neat?

    The real interesting thing with the facial recognition on android is that it’s actually built into the API so any app can use it. THAT’s a real security issue that needs to be looked into… or it just means that a lot of really cool apps are about to hit the market.

    I’m just a little nervous about the idea that any app can use facial recognition on me… I assume it will require a permission, but if lots of apps start integrating it then eventually i’m going to have to use one with it to play the latest cool game

    1. Joseph Ferreira says:

      @Guest discussing the API….actually in the google Q & A group about the facial recognition unlock they stated it is not part of the open API and is only available for the unlock screen.

    2. Mr4x42u says:

      I have to agree. Anyone that seriously thought this would be a good way to secure all of your deepest secrets on your phone has watched way too many CIA spy movies. After seeing it fail during the Hong Kong event, my concern would be focused on the side of having trouble getting the phone unlocked myself. Wether it be lighting conditions, hat vs. no hat, make-up, hair style, etc… It sounds like more of something to play with rather than rely on. Maybe I’m just to pessimistic, but even had it worked during the demonstration I would not depend on it to take place of a simple PIN.

  2. I think its still useful to stop the general thief.  I mean so they are really going to take a photo of you as they try to steal your phone??  That’s something that really needs a lot of planning.

    1. bioutbreak says:

      they ain’t going to take a photo as they steal your phone, but nothing is stopping them from digging out your facebook/twitter/blog/google+ account or whatever, grab a photo you posted there and unlock your phone. Its making people close to you much easier to unlock your phone.

  3. I would think you have to match the facial expression as well.  Big smile, no smile, mouth open/closed.  For those who wear glasses, they could be on/off or positioned lower on the nose.  I’m far more concerned about the phone being hacked and information stolen in that manner. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah-this is no huge deal to me. Those of you who saw the unveil in HK undoubtedly took note that this stupid feature didn’t even work during the demo. I also think that to position the phone just so in order to unlock it seems more inconvenient than punching the code in. What happens if somebody loses or gains weight and their face isn’t the same shape anymore. Give me a secure code any day thank you.  

  5. Zach says:

    Breaking news! Pin unlock has been compromised! It is now believed if someone nearby watches your fingers enter a pin number and then gets ahold of your phone, they may be able to unlock your device! Really? It’s so much easier to see someone’s pin than it is to get a photo good enough to trick face unlock. Unless of course you are friends with the thief on a network like Facebook, which I would suspect any thief you should be worried about actually stealing valuable data or your identity, etc won’t fall into this category of people. Any unlock security can be broken, but I think face unlock is just as good as anything else for everyday use. If you feel otherwise and value the data on your phone as if you’re a secret agent man, then use something else, there are options.

  6. derpitron says:

    My understanding is that facial recognition software uses algorithyms that identify the underlying bone structure of your face, looking for things like the ratios between the distances between your chin, nose, eyes, and cheekbones.  That means glasses and changes in weight don’t really affect it; you’d have to get reconstructive surgery to have it mess up recognizing you.  As to the picture unlocking it… yeah, I’m suprised people are suprised by this.  2D image analysis of another 2D image should be identical to analysis of a 2D image of a 3D object.  They’d have to use some sort of composite video anlysis, which of course could then be fooled by a video…

  7. Bob says:

    Google has said itself that this is not to be considered a security feature…..only convenience. so for those of you that would use it for security, thats your own fault.

  8. GP says:

    The same applies for when this is used in Windows 7 via various 3rd party addons. It isn’t a security measure, it’s a convenience one. In order for it to be as secure as the cameras used in entry systems for secure buildings, it needs to take a 3D point image, not  a flat one.

  9. Trololol says:

    I’m going to use my penis as the “picture” for face lock. I’m not a porn star so noone has a picture of my penis. Only problem now is that I’ll need to carry a mini torch and maybe a large cloth around to cover myself whilst I unlock my phone in my pants.

  10. M3incorp999 says:

    Is it me or didn’t anyone else catch that the guy doing the demonstration say that he had programmed the Nexus to unlock USING his picture that he had taken on the other phone. No it may be a play on words…but if he had said that he had programmed the Nexus to unlock by RECOGONIZING his face, that would indeed be different as the unlock feature requires you to take a pic of your face using the Nexus and it uses that photo to recognize you. With that having been said, I’m pretty sure the Nexus cn indeed be fooled.

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