There are many ways to lock your Android phone, from simply locking with a password to using biometric methods. But who is the safest? ESET informs you about how secure or unsafe the basic screen locking methods are.
As people become more and more aware of privacy and data security, it would be reasonable to assume that protecting smartphones with some form of authentication would be self-evident. However, this is far from the truth. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, almost one third of Americans do not use any screen locking method.
Let's take a look at the screen locking devices offered by the devices.
This method allows you to unlock your device by finger-forming a pattern you created. In terms of screen locking options, the pattern method could at best be considered a mid-level security option. You can draw something as simple as the outline of an L or a more complex shape. The simpler the pattern, the easier it is for someone to copy it if they are close to you and watching your movements.
To be precise, research has found that fraudsters managed to reproduce the pattern in 64,2% of the attempts they made after seeing it only once. The success rate increases as the number of times they saw the move increases. You can improve the security by choosing the setting that makes the pattern invisible and choosing a more complex shape. However, you should keep in mind that a PIN or password is generally a safer option.
PIN / password
If you have acted wisely and set some protection method for your Android device, then you will be familiar with the choice of using PIN or password, because this is the method that the SIM card requires when you turn off the device and turn it on again. Many versions of Android will allow you to set a simple four-digit code, but if you are interested in security you should choose a PIN with more numbers.
If you want to further improve the security levels, then you should choose a code that includes letters, numbers, special characters and will consist of at least 8 or more characters. It may be harder to remember and use, but in the long run you will not regret choosing the safest method.
Fortunately for some of us, the biometric fingerprint lock method is still available. You may encounter different sensors, on the device or on a key or even hidden on the screen of your device. The fingerprint lock method is considered to be one of the fastest ways to lock and unlock your mobile phone. By placing your finger on the sensor, the device will unlock in fractions of a second.
But how safe is this method? Most people find it extremely unlikely that a scammer will try to unlock a biometric lock. However, this is not unlikely. Fingerprints can be stolen from a photo or other source, even reproduced with a 2D printer, and then used to break biometric locks. In 2017, a security researcher was able to recreate the fingerprint of the German Minister of Defense from high-resolution photographs.
This biometric locking method recognizes your face and unlocks your device. You can probably imagine that this method is advanced and based on high technology, the truth is that it is actually based only on your mobile phone camera and some software. The front camera scans an image of your face and then uses an identification algorithm to verify that it is your face. The speed of the process depends on your device and the quality of the front camera.
This method is not necessarily safe and a scammer can bypass it using a portrait photo of you. To be precise, researchers did a test with 110 different smartphone devices and what they found was not at all optimistic. In general, using a biometric fingerprint lock in conjunction with a password is the safest option.
Special features per manufacturer
Some smartphone manufacturers use special features to enhance the security of their devices. These range from different levels of facial scanning to eye iris scanning. Samsung, for example, uses its own iris scanning method, which is fairly simple to set up. It also examines whether you wear glasses or not. The technology uses an infrared LED to illuminate your eyes, while a special camera captures iris patterns and the smartphone processes this information. Sounds like it's high tech, right? But is it safe? Well, a group of White Hat hackers used an infrared camera and managed to trick the first of Samsung phones that offered this feature.
There are many locking options to choose from. It is always wise to choose a combination and not rely solely on one method. Undoubtedly, the safest option is a trusted PIN or a multi-character password. The following is the locking method with fingerprint scanning. Whatever you choose, it is wise to "look ahead". The security of your phone today can save you from an unpleasant headache in the future.