One of the new features of the OnePlus 5T is Face Unlock. Unlike other manufacturers, however, the company isn’t making such a big deal out of it, and for good reason. OnePlus itself doesn’t believe that face recognition technology is at a point of being 100% secure and is using Face Unlock only has a matter of convenience. Nonetheless, in order to assure owners of some amount of security, CEO Pete Lau explains some of the things they plan to implement to make Face Unlock harder to trick.
Lau himself makes the point clear: Face Unlock was only implemented as additional option to unlock the OnePlus 5T from the front. This, like Apple’s Face ID, was due to the fingerprint scanner being evicted from the front because of the now all-screen display. Fortunately, in the OnePlus 5T’s case, the fingerprint scanner does still exist, on the back, to provide better security.
That’s not going to stop people from trying to fool Face Unlock to gain access to the phone. The feature currently uses 100 identifiers on registered faces to authenticate the users. At the same time, it is also some unspecified checks to actually make sure it’s a real, “live” face, versus, say, a mask.
That, of course, isn’t enough. An upcoming update will also allow Face Unlock to identify and rule out selfies, using metrics like whether light is being reflected off your face or being emitted from a phone’s display, reflections produced by the screen, and others. Lau says that, in the interest of security, that’s pretty much the only thing they are willing to divulge about upcoming security checks.
The OnePlus 5T deactivates Face Unlock after five failed attempts and will require users to input their PIN or code or use their fingerprint. Perhaps unlike the iPhone X Face ID, there will be no machine learning involved, and, therefore, no false training. In addition, data-sensitive apps like banking and Android Pay will never use Face Unlock, further emphasizing the idea of the feature not being that secure at all.