Your Android Lock Screen Pattern Can Be Hacked With Phone’s Speaker & Microphone

When it comes to smartphone security, the Android smartphones has always been easy to crack open unlike it’s competitor OS, of course the Apple iOS. Apple’s iCloud security has made the iOS devices so popular in term of security. With this security option, even when your device is stolen, you can be rest assured that nobody can get to your data. But in the Android community, this can be done easily and your phone will become someone else’s phone in no time.

Now, however it even gets more insecure as researchers from the universities in Sweden and the UK have discovered new techniques in which Android smartphone can easily be unlocked. According to this research, your Android device can be hacked using your smartphone speaker and microphone to steal your unlock pattern.

The technique has been given an unofficial name “SonarSnop”. It works by forming a sonar system by using sound waves to track the position of your fingers on your phone’s screen.

However, before is hack can be initiated, a malicious app needs to be running on the phone emitting sound waves from the device speaker, while the bounced off waves from the user’s fingers are captured by the microphone to identify the pattern. This sound waves emitted by the app are in the range of 18kHz and 20kHz, and it impossible to be heard with the ears.

Interestingly, this hack has been testing on Samsung’s Galaxy S4 running on Android 5.0.1. The research paper of this test was published by Academics from Lancaster University in the UK and Linkoping University in Sweden. You can read the research paper here.

With the SonarSnoop technique, the researchers were able to cut down the number of possible unlock patterns by 70%.

Hacking smartphone using Sonar techniques is still a new technique and in experimental stage as of now. The results of this technique is not as accurate as one would expect. But the Sonar technology isn’t new as it is commonly used in submarins for locating obstacles and other underwater objects.

In case you’re wondering, Sonar (Sound Navigation and Ranging) basically is a system for the detection of objects under water by emitting sound pulses and detecting or measuring their return after being reflected.

So, what are your thoughts about this? Tell us in the comments

Adewale Mudasiru
Adewale Mudasiru
Adewale Mudasiru is the founder and CEO of networked point.

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