The security of mobile devices should be essential for users, however, for most of them this factor does not have the required importance. Experts from a German university’s hacking course conducted a research on the use of the unlock key on iOS and Android smartphones, finding serious security issues.
If your smartphone unlock PIN is similar to or identical to 1234, 0000, 2580, or 654321, it is more exposed than other users, as it has been reported that these keys are more likely to be decrypted. According to the study, the 10 most commonly used four-digit PINs (and therefore most prone to hacking) are:
1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 5555, 5683, 0852, 2222, 1212, 1998
Hacking course specialists not only focused on four-digit keys, but also drew up a list of the most common six-digit PINs, including:
123456, 654321, 111111, 000000, 123123, 666666, 121212, 112233, 789456,159753
For their research, the experts gathered dozens of users and asked them to set up a PIN, not to mention further details. In addition, the specialists had some blacklists of the most common PINs.
To the surprise of the hacking course instructors, more than half of the experiment participants set a very unsafe four-digit PIN, while very few users chose to set a six-digit PIN.
According to the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), a four-digit PIN should be secure enough to prevent possible brute force attacks or for someone to simply guess the password, although users need to learn identify a key secure enough to avoid these scenarios. Companies have also implemented some protective measures, such as setting an attempt limit to unlock a smartphone and biometric identification.
Information security specialist, currently working as risk infrastructure specialist & investigator.
15 years of experience in risk and control process, security audit support, business continuity design and support, workgroup management and information security standards.