A new study out of the University of Massachusetts Lowell suggests it’s incredibly easy to steal someone’s phone PIN. Like, stupid easy. And right at the forefront is everyone’s favorite attention grabbing computer, Google Glass. Seems the wearable computer was able to detect someone’s PIN with 83-percent accuracy from up to 3 meters away (or about ten feet)—even when the screen itself wasn’t visible. Scary. I hope these things never go anywhere near banks.
Glass wasn’t the only technology involved in the study; researchers also used an iPhone 5 and Logitech webcam to show how easy it is to steal your password. Glass, obviously, is the most alarming because of how it allows users to act surreptitiously. Someone across the room from you could be hacking your PIN right now, and that’s frightening. The webcam, meanwhile, correctly recorded PINs with 92-percent accuracy. And the iPhone 5? Perfect score.
The amazing thing about this study is how these devices can figure out PINs even if they can’t see your screen. The ingenuity of hackers knows no bounds; it’s no wonder people are becoming more and more paranoid. Hackers would still need to get their hands on your phone to actually get into it, so it’s not the end of the world if they can figure out your PIN. But say that PIN is the same as the one you use at the ATM. Yeah, you probably shouldn’t be using identical PINs.
This study just goes to show that we need more advanced security. On the iPhone 5s you have Touch ID, which encrypts your fingerprint on the device’s A7 chip, while Android allows users to unlock their device with something like facial recognition. You can use more complex passwords on both platforms, but a simple four number PIN is the most convenient option. Turns out it might not be the safest.
Just the media attention Glass needed.