Face Unlock on the Google Pixel 8 has reportedly been tricked already

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The new Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro allow Face Unlock for payments, but a user on Reddit suggests that the system may not be fool-proof. The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro’s Face Unlock system may mistakenly identify siblings as twins, indicating a potential security concern, but it’s too early to make a conclusive judgment. Google said it achieved high security on the Pixel 8’s Face Unlock system without using dedicated hardware, relying on machine learning and AI elements instead.

After being officially revealed earlier this month, the Google Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro have finally begun reaching customers. Among the many new features bundled with the two flagships, one that went under the radar was the addition of Face Unlock for payments, with the company saying the Pixel 8 series could now use just their face for authentication, specifying that the new phones meet “the highest Android biometric standard,” i.e., Class 3. A user report on Reddit is now indicating that this Face Unlock system could be prone to misuse in some situations.

Per u/MotorTransportation8, the Pixel 8 Pro’s Face Unlock system would recognize their brother each time, despite both looking “very different” (via Android Authority). To be clear, Face Unlock was reintroduced with the Pixel 7 series last year, with Google saying that the new Pixel 8 duo could use this method to authenticate payments as well, relying mostly on machine learning/artificial intelligence-based advancements.

In trying to explain the situation, the affected user posits that maybe the Pixel 8 Pro is convinced that the brothers are twins even when they aren’t, adding that Face Unlock did not recognize their father in this fashion. This makes it seem like an isolated incident, so it’s too early to deem this a serious security concern. For further context, the Reddit user claims that Extend Unlock was not enabled in this case. This feature is designed to easily unlock trusted nearby Pixel devices and save users the trouble of manually unlocking each one.

The fact that Google managed to achieve a high level of security with Face Unlock without using dedicated hardware was indeed noteworthy. However, as multiple incidents in the past have revealed, the use of dedicated hardware, such as the one Apple does with its Face ID authentication method on iPhones and iPad Pro models, can also be tricked in certain situations.

While there’s a “less than 1 in 1,000,000” chance of a random person unlocking your iPhone or iPad with Face ID, Apple says the probability of an accidental match is higher with siblings or kids under the age of 13 “because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed.”

So it’s quite likely that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro’s Face Unlock system have also fallen prey to this phenomenon, especially since this particular incident refers to a mixup with their own sibling. Nevertheless, it’s still too early in the day to rush to judgments, but we hope to gain further clarity on this issue as more customers receive their Pixel 8 pre-orders in the days ahead if they haven’t already.

It hasn’t been all bad for the new Google flagship series so far, though, with JerryRigEverything’s recent Pixel 8 Pro durability test suggesting that the company may have fixed some of the design and durability issues from the Pixel 7 Pro. Durability is a key element in the marketing of the Pixel 8 series, particularly following Google’s promise of providing software updates and spare parts for seven years.

Google Pixel 8

The Google Pixel 8 is Google’s best phone yet, and it’s the most distinct regular model when compared to the Pro version. It comes with a wonderful form factor that fits well in the hands and has the usual software prowess that you expect from a Pixel.

$699 at Amazon $699 at Google Store $699 at Best Buy Source: Google Google Pixel 8 Pro

The Google Pixel 8 Pro is the company’s latest flagship, boasting a new Tensor G3 chip, a brigher screen, and a new camera array capable of capturing even more light. As usual, the real power lies in Google’s Tensor chip, which offers even more photo enhancement and image editing features, including an Audio Magic Eraser and a Best Take tool to blend multiple group shots into the perfect image.

$999 at Amazon $999 at Google Store $999 at Best Buy

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