While smartphone manufacturers have provided consumers with the best security possible like the swiping pattern and the fingerprint sensor or the pin option with their phones, now a new study reveals that the security of the phone can be easily broken.
Well, researchers from the University of Stuttgart and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich have concluded that the pin or the swiping pattern in a smartphone can be easily cracked by a thermal imaging camera. More so, the report from firstpost.com says that the heat traces left on the smartphone screen after typing the PIN or swiping a pattern could give away the secret code.
So anyone with access to a thermal imaging camera can scan for thermal images and once the images are retrieved it will reveal what parts of the screen were tapped. It is reported that even after the screen is left untouched for 30 seconds the heat is still present.
The group will exclusively demonstrate the study (how PINs or patterns can be extracted from the heat signature left on the user's smartphone screen) in an upcoming conference on human-computer interactions to be held in the US in May.
Considering such possibilities, the researchers have stated, "PINs and patterns remain among the most widely used knowledge-based authentication schemes. As thermal cameras become ubiquitous and affordable, we foresee a new form of threat to user privacy on mobile devices."
The researchers have further said that thermal images taken within 15 seconds of a PIN being entered are 90 percent accurate most of the time. Likewise, if it is taken after 30 seconds, it is about 80 percent accurate. Additionally, the report states that if it goes beyond 45 seconds or more, then the accuracy drops to 35 percent and below.
As this sounds alarming, it looks like smartphone manufacturers will have a new task at hand. They will need to work on making smartphones more secure.