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Is your smartphone really a phone or just a tinier computer? It’s a question that’s getting increasingly harder to answer as the people engage with their handheld devices more in areas that were traditionally reserved for desktop or notebooks. To support a wealth of rich features and technologies like sharp graphics and tactile feedback, smartphones have grown to be very well equipped with all sorts of sensors. The more complex the machine, however, the greater the security risk.

Case in point: British researchers from Newcastle University showed that simply by monitoring and interpreting data recorded by a phone’s sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope, or magnetometer, they could infer a person’s four-digit PIN. When people tap in their PIN, the phone has a distinct orientation and motion which can be used to guess the code.

The team led by Maryam Mehrnezhad developed an artificial neural network — algorithms loosely modeled after the neuronal structure of the human brain — to guess the PIN from input sensor data. The team proved last year that they could access it by attacking the phone through a javascript exploit delivered through the phone’s browser. A user only had to click on a link for an attacker to get hold of all the sensor data, and this worked even if the phone was locked after the link was clicked on for some browsers like Apple’s Safari.

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smartphone PIN

Credit: YouTube.
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Click link below for article and video:

http://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/cracked-smartphone-pin-sensor/

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