Our phones contain lots of personal information, so it’s essential to lock your device using one of several choices. On Android, you can choose from a PIN, pattern, or password. Since a password takes too long to type out all the time, most people use either a PIN or pattern code.
We’ve also discussed whether a fingerprint is better than a PIN if your phone supports it. But if you use a pattern, you might want to think about choosing another method ASAP.
New security research has found that 95% of Android patterns can be cracked within the five attempts that the phone gives before locking you out temporarily. By filming people while they unlock their phones with a pattern and using a computer vision algorithm to process finger movements, these researchers are able to guess patterns with high accuracy. Further, the more complex the patterns, the easier they are to guess using this method.
Of course, we have to take this with a grain of salt, since anyone filming you will obviously have an advantage in guessing your lock screen code. Aside from this, though, pattern locks are simply less secure than a PIN, due to the fewer possible combinations and ease of guessing the code from screen smudges.
For most people, we recommend a PIN (along with a fingerprint if you phone supports it) for the greatest balance of security and convenience. Don’t be afraid to make it longer than four digits, and don’t forget about Android’s Smart Lock, which lets you automatically unlock your phone when you’re at home or in the car.
Check out our lock screen security tips for more on Android security.
How do you secure your Android lock screen? Will you rethink using a pattern lock after reading this? Add your thoughts by leaving a comment!
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