Researchers from the universities in Sweden and the UK have stumbled on a new technique using which your smartphone’s speaker and microphone can be used for stealing unlock pattern.
The technique works by forming a sonar system by using sound waves to track the position of your fingers on your phone’s screen. The new technique has been dubbed as SonarSnoop.
To use this hack, a malicious app needs to be running on the phone for emitting sound waves from the speaker, and the bounced off waves from the user’s fingers are captured by the microphone to identify the pattern. Interestingly, the sound waves emitted by the app are in the range of 18kHz and 20kHz, which is inaudible by human ears.
Academics from Lancaster University in the UK and Linkoping University in Sweden have published a research paper which details the test of this technique on Samsung Galaxy S4 running on Android 5.0.1. You can read the research paper here.
With the help of SonarSnoop, the researchers were able to cut down the number of possible unlock patterns by 70%.
This new technique is in the experimental stage as of now, and the results as not as accurate as one would expect. This technology used behind this technique is not new. Sonar (Sound Navigation and Ranging) is commonly used in submarines for locating obstacles and other underwater objects. However, hacking a smartphone’s lock through Sonar is a fairly new concept.
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