Do you think your smartphone is secure enough! You may think so with all the smartphone manufacturers bragging about how good their security is or how unauthorized access is not permitted on the device but you might change your opinion after reading this article.
Well, the security level has improved with fingerprint security feature but there are still plenty of people who prefer the pattern lock instead of the fingerprint sensor. And if you are one of them then there's some bad news for you.
According to a report from phys.org the popular Pattern Lock system used to secure millions of Android phones can be cracked within just five attempts. The report also states that the more complicated patterns you have the easier it becomes to crack.
So if you are one of those people who use a pattern lock then you might consider enabling a better security feature. Why? Because researchers have developed a tool that can covertly capture your finger pattern and replicate your unlock pattern even without directly seeing the screen. This software tool can apparently crack a user's pattern in just five attempts.
As phys.org reports, the research was carried out by individuals from several universities including Lancaster University, China's Northwest University, and the University of Bath. The team from these Universities have shown that attackers could crack Pattern Lock reliably within five attempts by using video and computer vision algorithm software.
The team has demonstrated as to how an attacker could covertly record a video of the owner drawing their Pattern Lock shape to unlock their device, then use the software to quickly track the owner's fingertip movements relative to the position of the device. So once the tracking was done, within seconds the algorithm would produce a small number of candidate patterns to access the Android phone or tablet.
Basically, the software developed by these researchers analyzes the hand movements of people as they unlock their devices and create a similar pattern based on that. However, the interesting part is that the teams have stated that the attack works even without the video footage being able to see any of the on-screen content, and regardless of the size of the screen.
In fact, the research has shown that results are accurate from up to two and a half meters away. The study has mentioned that the software also works reliably with footage recorded on a digital SLR camera at distances up to nine meters away.
Astonishingly, results have indicated that after testing the software against 120 different unlock patterns from random users, the tool cracked over 95 percent of the codes within the first five attempts.
Now that you know the threat, researchers have suggested some countermeasures to prevent this attack. What can be done? Well, they have that you should fully cover your fingers when drawing the pattern. You could also change the color and brightness of your smartphone dynamically to confuse the recording camera. As for pattern lock designer, they could mix pattern locking with other activities such as entering a sentence using Swype-like methods.