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2 min read 2 comments

Video of Galaxy Nexus' Face Unlock Being Hacked By a Photo


Most crime are commited by folks who know the victim personally. So when it comes to the "Face Unlock" feature on the Galaxy Nexus, we think there's one scenario we think you need to consider– namely, what happens when your Mom holds up a picture of your face next to your brand new Galaxy Nexus?

Google Tweeted that face recognition software could not be hacked using a photo but now there's evidence to the contrary.

In the video below, you can see someone using a photo of himself on a Galaxy Note to unlock his Galaxy Nexus. The user is able to do so over and over again, leading us to believe that Google was not as forthcoming about the limitations of Face Unlock as they should have been.

However, there has been some controversy over the video: Youtube commentors (always a helpful bunch!) have argued that the user who uploaded the video set-up Photo Unlock to recognize his picture, not his mug, since the man in the video says "I've already programmed the Galaxy Nexus to recognize my picture." The user has since claimed the line was a flub.

Face Unlock received a lot of hype when it was first announced, but there now appears to be a backlash since it does not seem to be able to tell the difference between a three dimensional person and a one-dimensional photo. Would you care if Face Unlock could be hacked using a photo?


Can Galaxy Nexus' Face Unlock Be Hacked Using a Photo? Google Says No

Video of Face Unlock Feature on Galaxy Nexus


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  • "I've already programmed the Nexus to recognize my picture."

    So he programmed the phone to unlock with his flat picture, not his actual face. Obviously, this guy didn't fully understand the reason for the Twitter question.

    Not news.

  • wow amazing. it seems these developers live in a bubble: the camera is 2d, it needs a still image for unlocking so.... a photo MIGHT do the trick....

    now if you use an algo that needs movement of face to unlock, you can do the same trick from above with a video... but! if you have to use a 3d camera, then it's a mess to hack. you need REALLY make up+prosthesis.

    so - 3d camera+movement identifier will eliminate that problem. when will it be available? pretty soon i think