Your mobile PIN isn't safe, thanks to your camera and microphone

13 November 2013

mobile phone Thanks to a program called PIN Skimmer, the PIN for your phone can be revealed by its camera and microphone. Basically, the software watches your face via the camera and microphone is used to detect what you touch, and it works on Galaxy S3 and Google Nexus-S phones.

After the microphone hears clicks, the camera works out the orientation of the phone and "correlates it to the position of the digit tapped by the user" according to report authors Prof Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon. They continued: "We demonstrated that the camera, usually used for conferencing or face recognition, can be used maliciously. We watch how your face appears to move as you jiggle your phone by typing. It did surprise us how well it worked."

This means, codes to unlock your phone or the PIN to access your banking app can be worked out by others, posing the question: what should mobile manufacturers be doing to avoid people hacking into our phones?

Of course, Apple have fingerprint technology, but other mobiles could have longer PIN numbers or something that randomises the position of numbers on the keypad. Or are we moving toward everything being voice activated? Or should we just ride it out and stick with what we've got?


TOPICS:   Mobile   Privacy


  • Tim
    You do realise that the clicks come out of the speaker, not directly from the screen, right?
  • bhbtg
    erm, wouldn't that require someone to install the app on your phone, which would require them to be able to bypass your pin anyway to get to the app store?
  • Ruzzz
    "Of course, Apple have fingerprint technology," which was hacked within days of it being released
  • Cheesey
    Phew! My phone's safe. I don't use a PIN....
  • Sam S.
    Just turn off keypad sounds in settings & watch me fap away to free porn mudafukkas!

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