MotorTransportation8 wrote on Reddit that his brother who shares some of their features but is not an identical twin and looks very different than them was able to use face unlock to get into their Pixel 8 Pro.
It isn’t clear how Google decides what’s a good match for face models stored on a phone because MotorTransportation8 says their father, who they think bears a stronger resemblance to them than their brother does, was not able to unlock their phone.
Regardless, it’s kind of disturbing to find out that the Pixel 8 Pro can be broken into by someone who doesn’t even exactly look like you. This is due to the facet that this year’s Face Unlock system has been certified by Google as meeting the criteria for the highest Android biometric class.
In contrast, the Pixel 7 had a weaker system and thus, Google didn’t let you do anything other than unlocking the phone with it.
Unlike the iPhone’s Face ID and Pixel 4’s Face Unlock system that creates a depth map of the user’s face, Pixel 8 has no such hardware. And yet, Google says it’s reliable enough to be used for banking and payment apps.
This means that once MotorTransportation8’s brother unlocks their phone, he can do everything from using it for payments and accessing password managers. But MotorTransportation8 cannot get even with him by doing the same to him.
That’s because firstly, their brother has a Pixel 7 Pro which requires you to use the fingerprint scanner for payments. And secondly, it turns out, at least in MotorTransportation8’s case, the Pixel 7 Pro has a better face unlock system than the Pixel 8 Pro.
While the incident surely sounds alarming, we haven’t heard other stories of the Pixel 8’s face unlock system being bypassed by someone so far. Furthermore, Google already says that phones can be unlocked by someone who looks a lot like you.
Also, face unlock systems, including Apple’s Face ID, are not foolproof, with Apple claiming the probability of an unauthorized person fooling its system is one in a million.
Whether the chances of the Pixel 8’s face unlock system getting tricked by someone are similarly low is not known. The Pixel 8’s face unlock system only uses the front-facing camera and machine learning to verify a user.