Some prefer to remember numbers, others prefer patterns. Every screen lock has its advantages and disadvantages.
To protect your cell phone from unpleasant hands, there are a number of security locks that can be set on the device. But not all are equally safe. In addition, every lock has advantages and disadvantages.
This lock is one of the most popular because it is easy and quick to enter. It consists of nine points arranged in a square. To unlock the screen, at least four of these points must be connected in a specific order. The advantage of this lock is that the conventional patterns are easy to remember. The disadvantage, however, is that strangers can easily remember the pattern by looking over their shoulders.
In addition, it is possible that grease residues on the screen provide information about the pattern used and can thus be guessed. It is important to know that the more points are included in the pattern, the more secure the lock will be.
A PIN code is a bit more secure than the pattern. Depending on the combination of numbers, this method has the advantage that the PIN code is easy to remember. In addition, you can increase the security of the unlocking method with each additional number. The disadvantage, however, is that PIN codes are often used that are easy to guess – whether because you are using a combination of numbers that has something to do with personal life, such as your date of birth, or because you are using codes that are easy to guess. It is therefore advisable to use combinations of numbers that are as random as possible.
As a study of the SANS Institute shows, only very few follow this advice. The most frequently used combinations in 2019 and 2020 were “1234”, “1111” and “0000”, closely followed by “1212” and “7777”. The security experts strongly advise people who use such PINs to change them.
Passwords are combinations of letters, numbers and special characters that can be used to unlock a phone. The following also applies here: the more characters are used, the more secure the password is. Anyone who also includes a number of lower and upper case letters and special characters is better protected. The disadvantage is that such complex passwords are difficult to remember and can take a while to enter. In principle, however, this method is extremely safe.
Phones cannot be unlocked by just entering data manually. More modern devices also use biometric data such as fingerprints, face recognition or an iris scan. The fingerprint method is popular because you always have your finger with you and the process is comparatively quick. In addition, you don’t have to memorize any number or letter combinations. The disadvantage is that this method does not work if the hands are wet or in gloves in winter.
The situation is similar to face recognition. This also works quickly and you don’t have to memorize any further information. One should check whether the cell phone uses a 3D camera. If this is not the case, the phone could possibly be fooled with a photo. In addition, problems with unlocking can arise when wearing masks or in poor lighting conditions.
The iris scan is a little newer. This scans the iris in the eye and recognizes the owner of the cell phone. The security is assessed similarly to fingerprint and face recognition, but the iris scan has one advantage: Thanks to infrared technology, it also works in poor lighting conditions.
Which of these methods is ultimately considered to be the safest method depends on how it is used. If you use an extremely complex pattern or a long combination of numbers or letters for your smartphone, you drive relatively safely. However, it is not advisable to use patterns or combinations of numbers that are easy to guess. In addition to biometric data, a second decryption method should always be specified – because fingers can be dirty or injured, masks can cover faces or the phone’s camera can even break. If you have determined an alternative method, you make sure not to lose access to your own telephone in these cases either.