Hackers could crack your four-digit PIN code using smartphone sensors

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Hackers are always trying to discover ways to exploit and crack smartphones specifically Android devices. Security researchers from Singapore have discovered a new algorithm that exposes a person’s passcode using data from six smartphone sensors.

Smartphone’s sensors could give hackers the passcode to crack your device. The researchers discovered that 99.5% of the time the method worked and their device got unlocked. They installed a custom application which collected the data from six sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, proximity sensor, barometer, and ambient light sensor) installed on an Android smartphone. They were able to pick the correct 4-digit PIN code for the device.

Researchers tried to guess the PIN code by collecting the data from three people, who each entered a random set of 70 four-digit pin numbers on a phone and then applied machine learning to the sequences in order to guess the pin code.

According to the researchers:
“When you hold your phone and key in the PIN, the way the phone moves when you press 1, 5, or 9, is very different. Likewise, pressing 1 with your right thumb will block more light than if you pressed 9,”

“Along with the potential for leaking passwords, we are concerned that access to phone sensor information could reveal far too much about a user’s behaviour. This has significant privacy implications that both individuals and enterprises should pay urgent attention to,”

Users are recommended to have PIN numbers with more than four digits, linked with other authentication systems like one-time passwords, two-factor authentications, and fingerprint or facial recognition.

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Eslam Medhat

is a professional pen-tester with over 9 years of IT experience bringing a strong background in programming languages and application security, ranging from network and system administration to exploit research and development. He reported various vulnerabilities for high profile companies and vendors and was successfully acknowledged by them.

Eslam Medhat

is a professional pen-tester with over 9 years of IT experience bringing a strong background in programming languages and application security, ranging from network and system administration to exploit research and development. He reported various vulnerabilities for high profile companies and vendors and was successfully acknowledged by them.

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