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Face Unlock Tricked: Man Unlocks Galaxy Nexus Using Picture, Exposes Android Flaw (VIDEO)

Face Un Lock Tricked

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/11/11 03:46 PM ET Updated: 11/11/11 03:46 PM ET

The Face Unlock feature in Android 4.0 for the Galaxy Nexus is pretty darn cool -- it unlocks the phone using facial recognition software so you don't need to type in a pesky code each time you want to use the phone.

But as one blogger pointed out, probably much to the chagrin of Google, you don't even need your pesky face to unlock the phone. Your face in-the-flesh, that is.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW

Answering a tweet from a curious reader that asks if a printed picture can fool the phone, SoyaCincau of the eponymous blog shows us just how easy it is to, well, fool the phone. And he didn't even need a printed picture.

He uses a digital picture taken from a Galaxy Note, and by simply showing the Galaxy Nexus's camera the picture, he's able to unlock the phone.

The video has gone viral, and he's updated the YouTube description to address the question of whether or not he programmed the phone to recognize his picture, not his actual face:

While some of you think that it is a trick and I had set the Galaxy Nexus up to recognise the picture, I assure you that the device was set up to recognise my face. I have a few people there watching me do the video and if any one of them is watching this video I hope you can confirm that this test is 100% legit.

With your face literally all over the internet (think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), this could be a potentially serious flaw in Android 4.0, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich and unveiled last month in Hong Kong.

Of course, all this would require the person who's trying to break into your mobile to know your identity, so we suppose it's not something worth worrying about if you lose your phone and your identity is no way tied to it (i.e. you don't have your name on the phone).

TheNextWeb's Matt Brian notes that Tim Bray, Android Developer Advocate at Google, denied via Twitter that a photo could be used to break into the phone when the issue was raised last month. He has not sent out a tweet regarding this video, but it will be interesting to see how he (and Google) address the potential issue.

WATCH: Galaxy Nexus Face Unlock Tricked:

Take a look at the rest of Android 4.0's awesome features (below).

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What's different about camera functions in Android 4.0? A whole lot, starting with Instagram-esque photo-editing tools and deeper integration with social networks. TechCrunch is gaga over the improvements, lauding the "image stabilization, improved autofocus, and integration with other apps for sending photos or instant upload to Google+. Oh, and who could forget built-in face detection, panorama and time lapse modes, and on-the-fly photo retouching and enhancements." Like Apple's new iOS 5, Android users will also be able to access the camera right from the lock screen.

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