If you're serious about security on your Android phone or tablet, you probably know that the Face Unlock feature introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich is a long way from secure. While Google didn't make any claims to the contrary, it looks like the extra "Liveness check" (which requires the user to blink after the initial scan) is almost as susceptible. A group of YouTube users demonstrated how to get past the check with a photo taken off of Facebook and just a few minutes of Photoshopping.
Face Unlock, a security feature introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich, while a fun concept, proved vulnerable to trickery. Specifically, the unlock method would recognize photos of your face as if they were your real face. Another issue with Face Unlock was that it ostensibly never locked users out after numerous failed attempts.
Looking to address these issues, Google did a bit of tweaking to Jelly Bean's Face Unlock. Namely, FU now features a "Liveness check" option which, as the name suggests, makes sure you're a real, live person before unlocking your device.
Hey all you OG Transformer owners - wanna unlock your tablet by looking at it? Better start hitting that 'System Updates' button, because ASUS just started pushing an OTA that will let you do just that. This update not only brings Face Unlock to the device, but a handful of other features and fixes:
- Improves system stability
- Improves Email App stability
- Improves MyNet stability
- Improves MyLibrary stability
- Add System Bar Lock: Lock the system bar when playing games
- Add Email App new feature: Email download size/Thread/Out of office notification/Mail Sync schedule
The update should be rolling out to all TF101's in the U.S.
One of the most interesting features in Ice Cream Sandwich is, without a doubt, the new Face Unlock that lets you unlock the phone using your face and the front-facing camera. Before we go any further, please read the following bullet points, as I'd like to clear a few things up:
- The question of whether Face Unlock can be duped by a photo was raised by many almost immediately after the feature was announced, to which Google responded with "give us some credit".
If you find PIN codes or gesture patterns too predictable to keep your phone secure, Ice Cream Sandwich has the ultimate solution: face unlock.
Face unlock utilizes your phone's front-facing camera to "recognize" your face. If anyone else looks into the camera, they will be denied access. Simple as that. Not only is this a nice option to have for everyday use, but I could imagine it being integrated into mobile security apps as well, ensuring that no one but you could get into your phone and see potentially sensitive data.