Android Phone Lock Patterns Are Easy To Guess, New Study Claims

If you use a pattern to lock your phone, the chances are it probably starts in a corner and uses only four nodes according to new research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

In a study of almost 4,000 android lock patterns a graduate student found that a large percentage of patterns are scarily predictable.

Marte Løge reports that an astonishing 77% of lock patterns start at the corner with 44% often beginning at the top left hand corner.

Having studied 3,400 users, Løge presented a talk at a Passwords conference titled "Tell Me Who You Are, and I Will Tell You Your Lock Pattern."

Speaking to ArsTechnica, she said: "Humans are predictable."

"We're seeing the same aspects used when creating a pattern locks [as are used in] pin codes and alphanumeric passwords."

Her research showed that most lock patterns moved left to right and top to bottom and since a significant proportion only use four nodes, wannabe hackers have a sample of 1,624 patterns to choose from.

However, the pool of combinations increase with the length and complexity of the pattern.

She also broke down her results into gender-based differences and found that men tend to use more complex and longer patterns than women.

Her advice to Android users who want to bolster their phone security is to keep their patterns complex and node-heavy, using as many points on your phone as possible.