Android devices offer a “pattern unlock” feature as a security measure, but it may not be as safe as users think.
A study from the US Naval Academy found it is easy to “shoulder surf” and remember a user’s unlock pattern.
Sophos reported that researchers conducted a large-scale study which involved participants watching videos of users inputting PINs and unlock patterns.
They then asked them to replicate what they saw.
PINs (six digits) were tough for most users, and only 10% were able to reproduce codes in a video. About 25% were able to remember a PIN with multiple viewings.
Unlock patterns that used six nodes, however, were remembered by 64% of participants after one viewing. The success rate increased to 80% with multiple viewings.
Previous research has found that despite Android’s nine-node pattern grid offering 389,112 possible patterns, most people use one of four patterns.