As smartphones store our private data and have access to our bank accounts and digital wallets, it has become imperative that we take steps to safeguard these devices. Present day smartphones come with multiple security options such as face unlock, fingerprint unlock, PIN, pattern and password. So, which one is the best? Well, to answer that question, let’s analyze each of these to understand which is most secure.
Fingerprint scanner: Your fingerprint is certainly unique, but the way it is captured and processed by your smartphone can create security risks. Mobile phone companies have to ensure ease of use as well, so only a few unique aspects of your fingerprint may be considered for verification. You may have noticed that smartphones are quite quick at scanning fingerprints and you don’t even have to press your entire finger against the scanner. This shows that only a small section of your fingerprint is considered for verification. Fingerprint is also vulnerable because they may be available in public domain. Your trashcan itself can have dozens of your fingerprints on various discarded items. However, if you are looking for a balance of security and usability, then fingerprint scanner would be your first choice.
Face scanner: There have been cases where hackers have been able to manipulate 2D face scanners. Latest smartphones are offering 3D face scanners, but these too are susceptible to risks. Your face is easily available in public domain, as CCTV cameras are installed everywhere these days. A hacker can easily hack into this data to gain access to your phone. It’s difficult but not impossible.
PIN: If you are using a 4 digit PIN for your smartphone, it cannot be considered as secure. The PIN has to be at least 6 digits to make it adequately secure.
Pattern: This is the least secure, as patterns are quite easy to guess. Moreover, the marks of your fingers on the screen may easily give away your pattern.
Password: This is probably the most secure, provided that you use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. However, passwords for phones are not good in terms of ease of use. It would be very frustrating if you have to enter an 8 character password every time you need to use your smartphone. However, if security is your top priority, then a password will be most appropriate.
Overall, it appears that face and fingerprint scan provide adequate level of security without compromising on ease of use. Passwords are the most secure, but typing them on a small screen can be a real problem. PIN can be a good option if you use 6 or more digits. Patterns are the least secure and can be avoided.