An Analysis of Phone Lock Technologies

A survey reveals that 80% of phone owners are dependent on their cells for getting information, staying entertained and for help in emergency situations. Your whole life summary is open on your phones if you really think about it! In this intense scenario, the thing that needs the most attention is the security of your cell phone.

No doubt there are many choices available to you for the purpose; face scans, fingerprint sensors, PIN codes, eye detectors, and so on. But let’s explore how effective all of these are and how much you can depend on them for your security.

Function and Operation

Talking about performance, passwords and pin codes just can’t lose, no big technology in their implementation and of course they are 100% accurate. They have become so common that they have lost their efficiency. Same goes for pattern lock leaving the fact that it is quick and easy. But as Security Researcher Lee Munson said “The alternatives have yet to be proven to be significantly better. Long live the password!”

Apart from these simple locks, the world has become more inclined towards biometric locks; from fingerprint sensors to Iris and Cornea detectors. So, let’s talk about their effectiveness.
Part of your decision about which phone locking protection tech to use should be based on how long it’s been on the market and how mature it’s become.
Synopsys Senior Principal Consultant Amit Sethi

To speak in terms of how long it has been on market, voice recognition was the first to make its way to phone lock technology. Today, this technology works just fine and we have no hesitation in saying that it is fully matured as our computers have become very productive in everything related to human voice, whether it is to copy it or to understand it and do what it is saying (including unlocking the phone).

Picture: bayometric
Then come fingerprint sensors, they are no less than any other lock, fingerprints are unique and are therefore much trusted for the purpose of phone safety. To add some facts here, less than 1% fingerprint identifications go wrong! (combining both false positives and false negatives). Face scanners came latter but are reliable because they analyze over 100 identifiers on your face such as the distance between your eyes or between your nose and upper lip; and mobile companies are working to make them even better.

The latest technology in phone lock is Iris Detection. It is, in fact, the only biometric authentication technology which is capable of working in the exhaustive search mode. The image above clearly shows the uniqueness and performance of this tech compared to others in question, the only thing as you see is acceptability. The reason for that going low has many factors from infrared exposure to large differences of results in different algorithms. But experts say that if iris recognition is used in combination with other biometric testing, accuracy rates can approach 100 percent!

Hack Alert

Just about every smartphone locking measure out there has been hacked or exposed at some point, rightly said by Mark James, a Security Specialist at ESET:
If we want something to stop anyone from hacking our phone, even if they know us or have access to information about the owner, then no security measure is technically secure
But it’s worth remembering that in a lot of cases these technologies are getting beaten under lab conditions that aren’t easy to replicate in the real world. In other words, just because someone can spoof a copy of your biometric identities doesn’t mean they’re going to go through the trouble of doing so.
But realistically speaking, voice recognition can be easily hacked by a recording of your voice – face detection may get beaten by your photo – fingerprints are not that difficult to copy, its 21st century and the technology has gone wild!
In the current scenario, probably the most difficult identity to copy is the iris; you would need an infrared-enabled camera, a crystal-clear photo taken from five meters away or closer, a laser printer, and a contact lens to shape the fake iris. Maybe the phone hackers in your town aren’t going to go to that level of effort to get a sharp photo of you, but the point is that biometrics can be spoofed, and you can’t change your fingerprint as easily as you can change your PIN code.

Moreover, watching you enter your smartphone PIN at a coffee shop is a lot easier for a would-be thief to do than build a working replica of your thumbprint; but on the other hand, your fingerprints, voice, iris and other biometrics are all vulnerable to being spoofed to some extent, and can’t ever be changed in the event of a breach. If you’re careful and clever about it, your PIN code only exists in your head, and that’s a very hard place for a hacker to get into.

With all these technicalities, which side are you on? Do share your thoughts in the comments!

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