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Shocker: Touchscreen smudge may give away your Android password pattern

Richard Lai, @richardlai
August 16, 2010
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Fast food connoisseurs should pay special attention here -- according to a recent paper by the University of Pennsylvania, Android users are inadvertently leaving their nine-dot lock patterns in the open, courtesy of their fingers' oily smear on the screen. Specifically, the study on potential "smudge attacks" found that partial or complete patterns could be easily retrieved -- even with added noise on the display or after incidental clothing contact -- by using various lighting and camera orientation settings for the smear analysis. Should we be surprised? No. But should our phones be getting Froyo sooner for the extra PIN and QWERTY password options? Hell yeah.

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