A week ago, Google introduced the brand new flagship Pixel 4, which sports all sorts of great features. Its infrared facial unlocking, however, should also work with the eyes closed and thus represents a certain security risk.

The Pixel 4 dispenses with fingerprints – and opened eyelids

It is beyond question that Google Pixel 4, which will hit the market this week, is a top-of-the-range device.

The new Top Model google does not have a fingerprint sensor and can only be unlocked by face locking, apart from conventional password methods. This unlocking method is already not completely harmless per se, as in some cases devices of similar-looking persons could also be unlocked. The Google Pixel 4 now seems to be unlocked without the person having to open his or her eyes. A problematic scenario no longer requires much imagination: pickpockets on the train, for example, only have to hold the stolen device in front of the sleeping owner’s face for a short time and have free access to all content.

Google itself has also responded by pointing out the problem on the unlocking features help page. “Your phone can also be unlocked by someone else if it is held to your face, even if your eyes are closed. Keep your phone in a safe place, such as in the front pocket or handbag,” it reads. Google also refers to lockdown mode as a solution.

Lockdown mode protects against unwanted unlocking

To activate it, the power button is briefly held and tapped on “Lockdown”. In this state, notifications, fingerprint or facial recognition activation, and Smart Lock are disabled until the device is unlocked. Lockdown mode must be reactivated after each unlock, making it suitable for situations where stranger scan could become a problem.


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