Lock patterns

Surprise, your Android lock pattern is just as bad as the combo on your luggage:

More than 10 percent of the ones she collected were fashioned after an alphabetic letter, which often corresponded to the first initial of the subject or of a spouse, child, or other person close to the subject. The discovery is significant, because it means attackers may have a one-in-ten chance of guessing an ALP with no more than about 100 guesses. The number of guesses could be reduced further if the attacker knows the names of the target or of people close to the target.

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10 Responses:

  1. Ix says:

    It's not like you couldn't deduce it from the smudges on the screen anyway, right?

  2. tauphraim says:

    I never considered lock patterns to be a kind of password. It's just a more convenient unlock button than the one on the phone's side.

    • jwz says:

      If you don't think an "unlock button" is a password then I think you are bad at words.

      • tauphraim says:

        I suppose I am :) The "lock" feature in this case is just preventing the phone from doing things while in my pocket. Maybe sleep/wake would be better words.

  3. dasuxullebt says:

    If a person steals my phone and really wants to access my data, (s)he will probably be able to do so without the password, except when the phone's memory is encrypted, which it probably isn't, and if it is, then only with a short passphrase. If the person wants to sell or use my phone, (s)he will just perform a factory reset. Otherwise, it is a convenient way to save against opportunist thieves.

    • jml says:

      Otherwise, it is a convenient way to save against opportunist thieves

      And, in the US at least, cops. (Although maybe that's redundant.)

    • jwz says:

      • Fallacy of "All attackers are State Actors".
      • (Possibly fallacy of "I have nothing to hide.")
      • Recent iPhones do not allow a factory reset without passcode. This basically nuked the resale market (but not the parts-salvage market).

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