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Your Android Smartphone’s Lock Pattern Can be Cracked Easily – Report

Security in Android vs. iOS is a debatable topic, as we all know that both of them are efficient when it comes to securing your device using a lock screen. While iOS offers Password, PIN & fingerprint scanner (TouchID) as security options to secure the device, Android, on the other hand, offers an additional method which is locking your device using a Pattern. Do make a note that few devices also offer security using Iris scanner which scans your retina and unlocks the device, like the Galaxy Note 7 which has been recalled from the market. However, we are not considering them here since it is not something that is being offered by Android mainly but is third party implementation.

The Pattern locking feature allows you to secure your smartphone or a tablet using a pattern. With this feature, users can simply draw a pattern in an unbroken movement. The complexity of the pattern is completely dependent on individual users. Just like any other lock screen methods, this is one is also being used by a lot of users assuming that it is as secure as the rest of options. However, researchers from Lancaster University, Northwest University in China and the University of Bath in Germany have something else to say about the pattern locking method.

According to the researchers, the pattern lock on any smartphone can be easily unlocked by the attackers just within five attempts. And do make a note that any and all Android device will give you five attempts before locking the device for a short period. It looks like using the video footage of your device while you are unlocking it and using some computer vision algorithm, anyone can get into a locked device just within five attempts. Once the attacker films the user unlocking the device, the software can later be used to quickly track the owner’s fingertip movements.

Researchers claim that the algorithms produce a small number of candidate patterns to access the Android phone or tablet. Above all, it has also being stated that using complex patterns to get away from this also doesn’t really works. These researchers have managed to crack about 95-percent of lock screen pattern out of the 120 unique patterns which were collected from the users for the research. So if you think that you have a complex pattern as it is, then you might want rethink again.

Long story short, if you are using a fingerprint scanner to secure you device, then well and good. However, it is recommended that you use PIN or Password as a secondary method instead of pattern lock. Yes, if you are an iOS user then definitely you are safe from this. But it is suggested that you keep changing your passwords or PINs as often as you can, just like one would do with E-mail passwords.

By Karthik Iyer on Friday 27th of Jan 2017


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