January 25, 2017: Scratch off â€˜pattern lockâ€™ from your list of options to secure your Android smartphone, because researchers have proved that guessing and cracking any Android smartphoneâ€™s lock pattern is literally childâ€™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 donâ€™t even need five attempts to guess and successfully crack a phoneâ€™s lock pattern.
Criminals intent on hacking into your Android smartphone donâ€™t even need to look at your screen to crack its lock pattern, say a joint team of researchers from UKâ€™s Lancaster University, Bath University and Northwest University of China, whoâ€™ve cracked 95% of 120 unique screen lock patterns in less than five attempts.
The security research team were able to successfully bypass Android phoneâ€™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?