It’s no secret that smartphone PIN codes are not perfect, but new research suggests they might be next to worthless. A team of scientists at Newcastle University in the U.K. was able to guess a user’s phone PIN code with nothing more than data from the device’s sensors.
In a paper published in International Journal of Information security, researchers demonstrated how a phone’s gyroscope — the sensor that tracks the rotation and orientation of your wrist — could be used to guess a four-digit PIN code with a high degree of accuracy. In one test, the team cracked a passcode with 70 percent accuracy. By the fifth attempt, the accuracy had gone up to 100 percent.
...it highlights the danger of malicious apps that gain access to a device’s sensors without requesting permission. more
- Make sure you change PINs and passwords regularly so malicious websites can't start to recognize a pattern.
- Close background apps when you are not using them and uninstall apps you no longer need.
- Keep your phone operating system and apps up to date.
- Only install applications from approved app stores.
- Audit the permissions that apps have on your phone.
- Scrutinize the permission requested by apps before you install them and choose alternatives with more sensible permissions if needed.