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  • Suleiman posted an update 1 week, 4 days ago

    Why Pattern Locks Are Not Secure On Android And The Best Alternatives

    Still using pattern lock for your
    Android phone? Here is why pattern lock is not secure and how you can protect you by using an alternative locking method.

    Smartphones have become a
    device where you keep a lot of
    personal data. You may have
    information such as your credit
    card numbers, address or scanned
    personal documents. Because you have such sensitive data, you add a
    security method to prevent others
    from accessing it.

    A popular security method around
    40% of Android users choose is a
    pattern lock. A pattern lock may
    sound more appealing because it’s easier to enter. Also, no one can
    see you tap on particular letters and
    numbers.

    But, are pattern locks
    really that secure?

    The Risks of Pattern Locks

    According to new security research
    from Lancaster University,
    Northwest University in China, and
    the University of Bath, 95% of Android patterns can easily be
    guessed in 5 attempts or less.

    This
    study discovered that hackers could easily guess your pattern lock by
    filming you as you enter your
    pattern lock.

    The hacker can easily be up to two
    and a half meters away and only
    use their smartphone’s camera to
    record you entering your pattern
    lock. If they were to use a digital
    SLR camera, they could even be as
    nine meters away regardless of the
    size of the phone’s display.

    Once they have the video footage,
    they use a computer vision
    algorithm to process your finger
    movements. Within seconds, the
    algorithm will then give the hacker
    some possible pattern lock combinations to try out.

    There is also no need to record
    your phone’s display since the
    algorithm can give possible
    combination by only focusing on
    your finger movements.

    Is it safer to use a more complex pattern?

    No, since the more
    complex they are, the easier they
    are to guess. This is true because
    they help the algorithm narrow
    down the possible combinations.

    Dr. Zhheng Wang, principle
    investigator and co-author of the
    paper said that people have a
    tendency to use more intricate
    patterns when trying to protect
    important financial information.

    If you don’t want to change your
    pattern lock method to a password
    or pin, try using a shorter one since
    they are not as easy to crack. The
    researchers also advise that users
    cover the display while entering their pattern lock, just like when
    you enter your pin at the ATM.

    Keeping your smartphone’s display
    clean is also a good idea because
    someone can guess your pattern
    by the smudges on the phone
    screen.

    Pattern Lock Alternatives

    If you’re ready to leave your
    pattern lock behind, a pin, face
    recognition access or a fingerprint
    (if available) are also great options.

    Traditional passwords are also a
    great option but the longer they
    are, the better. Adding some
    special characters to your password
    will secure your information even
    more.

    When creating your password,
    never use personal and obvious
    information. For example, never
    use your kids or spouse’s birthday
    or your wedding anniversary.

    Conclusion

    Locking your Android device with a
    pattern lock is definitely more convenient, but it’s not the safest method to choose from. Passwords
    do take longer to enter but will do a
    better job of keeping your data
    safe.

    What security method do you
    use? Drop a comment and let us
    know.

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