January 25, 2017: Scratch off ‘pattern lock’ from your list of options to secure your Android smartphone, because researchers have proved that guessing and cracking any Android smartphone’s lock pattern is literally child’s play. Scary, but true!
In most Android smartphones, a phone lock pattern displays a three-by-three grid of nine dots across which you trace a unique pattern to secure your Android device. Try to trace that pattern unsuccessfully five times and the phone goes under a temporary lockdown. However, researchers are now suggesting that bad guys don’t even need five attempts to guess and successfully crack a phone’s lock pattern.
Criminals intent on hacking into your Android smartphone don’t even need to look at your screen to crack its lock pattern, say a joint team of researchers from UK’s Lancaster University, Bath University and Northwest University of China, who’ve cracked 95% of 120 unique screen lock patterns in less than five attempts.
The security research team were able to successfully bypass Android phone’s screen lock pattern using just video recordings and computer-vision algorithm. Sitting just 2.5 metres away from a target phone, all they needed to do was shoot a video of someone unlocking their Android phone and feed that footage to a finger-tracking algorithm, according to an Independent.co.uk report.
The researchers also found that cracking complicated patterns was actually easier for the algorithm-driven software, as it severely reduced the number of possibilities the software had to guess.
Time to switch to PIN or password-based screen locks on your Android phone, eh?