If you thought pattern locks are good measures to secure your Android device, you’re up for some sad news. New research shows that pattern locks are surprisingly very predictable to guess.
Android Lock Pattern (ALP) isn’t weak in itself, but the way we use it makes our lock pattern easy to predict. ALPs contain a minimum of four nodes and a maximum of nine. This, in theory, gives a user nearly 400,000 different combinations to choose from. But most users are using similar patterns.
In a test of 4,000 different ALP samples, Martle Løge of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that 44 percent of these patterns started in the top left-most node of the screen, while a startling 77 percent started in one of the four corners. 10 percent of users, moreover, like to use a single letter word like N, or O, as their pass code.
The test further revealed that a large percentage of users moved from left to right and top to bottom. Furthermore, many users only use four nodes, resulting in far fewer combinations. Many users also seemingly don’t tend to change direction in their pattern, a practice which if used could make their pattern significantly stronger.
So what should you be doing to make your pattern lock more secure? Løge noted that one should turn off the “make pattern visible” option by going to the device’s settings. Also consider changing your pattern to add crossovers; use more than four nodes; and don’t start from the corner.