Smartphones have steadily increased in their capabilities, and as they have done so, they have resultantly gathered more and more data that needs to be secured against potential security threats. Fortunately, there are also more ways to protect your smartphone than ever before. For today’s blog, we’ll take a look of the options you have to secure your devices.
Passwords are the reigning king of authentication. A well-regarded password is your average user’s go-to; and, if not created with security in mind, can be very problematic. Since users have problem remembering new passwords, even if it’s one that they are able to choose, many users will create obvious passwords that can easily be guessed or hacked.
Conversely, a password (or the passphrase) can be one of the strongest security measures available for your mobile device, as it is important for every mobile user, especially one that has access to business networks, to secure their devices.
The Pattern Lock
The second option we will go over is called a pattern lock. It is the three-by-three swipe-based gesture that unlocks the device. This natural and intuitive lock is very fast, and if all nine dots are used in a pattern, it provides close to 400,000 possible configurations. Pattern lock comes up short in a couple ways. People tend to use shapes that are more easily guessable. It’s also relatively easy to ascertain the password if you watch a user’s hand.
The PIN authentication option is a relatively strong one, as the typical four numeral option has over 10,000 different combinations. Android features the ability to support up to 16 digits. That’s 10 quadrillion different combinations. Of course, not many people are going to be able to remember a 16-digit PIN (and how annoying would it be to have to enter that every time you unlock your phone?). Simple pins are the norm, and therefore not very secure.
The Fingerprint Scanner
This authentication method is now becoming standard on most smartphones and has by-in-large been very popular. It’s secure enough to be trustworthy, and very fast. Moreover, many financial applications utilize the fingerprint as a form of authentication, making the option that much more attractive. The only drawbacks are that sometimes manufacturers will put it in an inconvenient spot on the device and that it doesn’t work with gloves.
Using the Face
All newer smartphones have been taking advantage of facial recognition software. This allows a user to gain access by just glancing at the phone. Since this is an operating system-dependent option, most phones will be getting this option. It may not currently be the most secure option, but as the technology advances, this will be the go-to method for all authentication.
Other Security Measures
Many phones now also offer security features that rely on alternative forms of authentication. On-body detection keeps the device unlocked whenever it is being carried - regardless of who is carrying it. Other options such as having your device unlock when a user says “Okay, Google” is more for convenience than privacy or device security.
What’s the Best Option?
Currently, if you are looking for the most secure and accessible option, your best bet is to use the fingerprint scanner on your phone. Back that up with a five-or-six-digit PIN and you’ll be good to go. In the future, expect the facial recognition software to improve precipitously; and, therefore, be the most secure (and popular) option to get into a mobile device.
What form do you use? Leave your favorite security methods in the comments section below.
About the author
Michael is the CTO at Aniar IT Services and has been working in IT for over 20 years.
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