The Google Pixel 6a Has A Major Security Flaw

On July 21, 2022, Google finally announced the availability of the Google Pixel 6a for preorder. A successor to last year's Pixel 5a, this phone is Google's affordable offering for 2022. At first glance, the Pixel 6a seems to be a serious value-for-money offering, given that it uses the same Tensor chip that powers the rest of Google's Pixel lineup. It also gets the tried and tested camera setup from Google's older flagship grade Pixel smartphones. There are some compromises, of course, a few of which include a 60Hz display (instead of 120Hz), a lack of wireless charging support, and no headphone jack.

A major issue with the original Pixel 6 series was the reportedly slow and inaccurate fingerprint scanner. Initial reports from tech reviewers across the globe indicate that this flaw has been carried over to the Pixel 6a as well. While that alone is a cause of concern, we now have several reports discussing an even more critical flaw with the Pixel 6a's fingerprint scanner.

Tests performed by a handful of tech reviewers who got hold of the review units of the Pixel 6a indicate that anyone could potentially bypass the Google Pixel 6a's biometric security protocol. Several YouTubers have uploaded videos showing the phone being unlocked by people who did not have their fingerprint data stored on the device.

What's wrong with Google Pixel 6a's fingerprint scanner

Among the YouTubers who have highlighted this issue include GeekyRanjit — a popular Indian tech YouTuber — and another Indian tech channel called BeeBom. YouTuber Victor Kamanga also discusses the issue in his Pixel 6a video. The issue was also verified by folks over at 91Mobiles. There is also a dedicated thread on Reddit about this particular flaw on the Pixel 6a. A user in the thread has also claimed that he was able to recreate the same issue on his Pixel 6a wherein his wife was able to unlock the phone even though she did not have her fingerprint data on the device.

With Google yet to officially respond to these developments, it's unclear whether this issue is only limited to a handful of review units. However, we should get a clearer picture with the Pixel 6a set to reach consumers' hands starting July 28. If the issue does manifest on the retail editions of the phone, Google might need to issue an update to patch the vulnerability.