Using security patterns on your phone could be even more risky than you may think as thieves have become more intelligent.
Popular lock pattern systems can be cracked within just five attempts – and more complicated patterns are the easiest to [email protected]
Security experts have warned that Android users are particularly at risk. Pattern Lock is an alternative to PIN codes or text passwords that’s used by around 40 percent of all Android owners.
But attackers can crack Pattern Lock within five attempts using video and computer vision algorithm software, scientists at Lancaster University, Northwest University in China, and the University of Bath warned.
They will covertly film a smartphone owner drawing their lock pattern shape in a busy cafe, for example. The attacker will then use software to quickly track their victim’s fingertip movements. Within seconds the software suggests several patterns – one of which is the key to the phone.
This means thieves can target snazzy phones knowing they will be able to unlock them.
But it could pose serious national security risks, too. [email protected] will be able to access sensitive information or install malicious tracking software if a device is left unattended.
Results are accurate on video recorded on a mobile phone from up to two and a half metres away.
“As well as for locking their devices, people tend to use complex patterns for important financial transactions such as online banking and shopping because they believe it is a secure system,” said Dr Zheng Wang.
“However, our findings suggest that using Pattern Lock to protect sensitive information could actually be very risky.”
You can protect yourself by hiding your fingers while drawing your pattern, or drawing a sentence to create a pattern.
The scientists added that developers should consider adding a feature to dim the screen and change the brightness of the screen colour to confused a snooping camera.