Jan 25th, 2018

The internet is pretty good at finding things to freak out about, especially when it comes to device security. The latest outrage comes to us courtesy of Amazon’s Prime Exclusive Moto G5 Plus. These phones are offered at a discount for showing users Amazon ads on the lock screen and while that sounds like a good trade-off, some people claim to have made a disturbing discovery.

The alleged issue? According to a furry user on Twitter, it’s really easy to bypass the phone’s secure lockscreen by simply tapping on the phone’s lockscreen ads. To provide proof, he uploaded a quick video showing the problem, something that was seemingly confirmed by another user showing the exact same issue.

The problem is that it’s hard to pinpoint what’s going on here. On the surface, it sure looks like Amazon’s ads are the culprit, but not so fast. Android also has a variety of features that could be coming into play, delaying the lockscreen from fully activating.

As it turns out — at least for our furry friend here — the issue was simply Android’s “On-body Detection” feature — which keeps the device unlocked as long as it detects movement — something he claims was on by default (this usually isn’t the case). Locking and quickly unlocking the device doesn’t provide enough time for the phone to lock itself down, seemingly allowing a simple tap of an Amazon ad to give the user full access, although technically a swipe would do the same thing.

In either case, we’ve learned an important lesson here. Sometimes it’s better to hold off on the outrage and wait until we can find the true source of an issue before grabbing our pitchforks. Not that anyone did that here today, but you know… just a little food for thought.

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