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What is The Safest way to Lock My Mobile?

Lock My Mobile

The mobile phone is as essential for most of the population as the house keys or the wallet. Like these, it contains a lot of information about us and access to some basic services. Thus, it is convenient to put measures so that it does not fall into other hands.

If your phone remains stolen, the thief can delete the photos on it or share them with third parties, gossip on social networks or send emails from the accounts you have configured, in addition to making calls. It can even happen that someone with ill will takes our phone away for a few moments and installs some malicious software to steal our bank passwords. Of course, all of the above will be more difficult if the mobile is locked.

The screen (and the phone) are locked when the time indicated in the ‘Settings> Security and location’ section in Android has elapsed without activity. In iOS, this option is in ‘Settings> Touch ID and code’, where you have to choose ‘Activate code’. If it is not blocked, in addition to leaving the mobile unprotected, we could activate unwanted menus or applications when putting it in your pocket. In this regard, the National Cybersecurity Institute of Spain (Incibe) recommends setting the screen lock time to the minimum time, set at five seconds.

Once this measure remains established, we must choose between several unlocking systems, although not all of them offer the same guarantees regarding our privacy. Also, some of the following options are not available on specific phone models:

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Without security

Suitable for those who like risk. It is the equivalent of leaving the door of the house open since anyone who takes the mobile has access to everything in it simply by pressing the power button.

Belize

You have to slide your finger across the screen to unlock the mobile. It’s pretty much the same as having no security: even a baby can slide the screen and access all the phone’s options.

Smart lock

The Android operating system can have the phone unlocked on certain occasions using ‘Smart Lock’. To activate it, the mobile must have an unlocking system configured and then go to the ‘Settings’ menu and select ‘Smart Lock’ to choose in which cases we want to access the phone freely: with ‘body detection’, the device will remain unlocked while it is carrying it with you, in your hand or your pocket, and it detects movement, so that it will only be blocked when it remains deposited on a surface, but it would also remain accessible to everyone if the mobile phone remains stolen from our hand or someone else takes it.

For its part, the ‘ trusted sites ‘ option considers locations where the device is automatically unlocked. It is practical and safe when used, for example, at home. With ‘ trusted devices ‘, the proximity to a device that uses Bluetooth is used -such as a smartwatch. Blocking the phone is blocked when moving away from the indicated wearable- and with ‘ facial recognition ‘, the phone can be unlocked by showing the face to the camera.

Numeric code

If you fail several times when entering the code, the phone remains deactivated for an increasing time. It is a reasonably secure method as long as no one else knows about it. However, its security is proportional to its length and randomness: it is not advisable to put combinations such as 0000, 1234 or the year of birth as PINs.

Pattern

It consists of ‘drawing’ a route through to nine points on the screen to make a drawing that the user has predefined. It remains somewhat more secure than the numeric code since someone who knows us can try combinations they know are relevant.

Pawprint

Mobile phones support multiple user fingerprints. You have to scan your finger several times following the instructions that indicate the activation of this method (in ‘Settings> Security and location> Fingerprint’). To prevent fraud and someone using a deceased’s finger or fingerprint mould, the scanners include body temperature and pressure sensors. It is perhaps the safest method currently. In the iPhone case, the reader detects the electricity generated by a living being under the epidermis.

Speech recognition

This ‘Smart Lock’ mode involves recording a voice pattern and is insecure: the phone can recognize a recording as an authentic voice, confusing the owner’s representative with another similar one or not identifying ourselves in environments with a lot of noise.

Password

It is like the PIN, but using letters, numbers or symbols and practically as secure although, as in the numeric code, it depends on its length and not related to relevant data. Of course, it is not advisable to use something so random that we can forget it.

Facial recognition

This option has been around for a while on iOS and Android devices. In principle, it should be the safest since it only works when the camera captures the owner’s face, but it is not exactly like that.

Android phones use the default password manager of the operating system, Smart Lock, although when configured, the system itself warns that facial recognition is less secure than a pattern, a PIN or a password: a person with similar features could unlock the phone. In the same way, if we alter our appearance with glasses or shaving our beards, it may not recognize us. So that the latter does not happen, the easy recognition of Smart Lock can remain improved in the same section in which this option remains activated; in ‘Settings> Smart Lock’.

iPhone uses Face ID to unlock the phone, authorize purchases. Or log in to applications using the TrueDepth camera and artificial intelligence. To do this, optics capture facial data by analyzing more than 30,000 invisible points and obtaining an infrared image. Then, it transforms this information and compares it with the data it contains. Determining if whoever tries to access the phone is the owner. According to Apple, the probability that a random person looks at the iPhone. And can unlock it with Face ID is one in a million.

Face ID

Face ID works even when the user wears accessories. Such as prescription glasses or sunglasses, scarves or hats and adapts to changes such as makeup or a trim beard. If the difference is relevant, ask for confirmation of identity through the code of the Username. To activate it, you have to place the phone at a distance of between 25 and 50 centimetres (the equivalent of holding it naturally); the TrueDepth camera is activated by touching the screen or raising the mobile.

As we said, facial recognition can remain improved. A few months ago, the journalist Thomas Brewster unlocked several mobiles with a complete 3D reproduction of his head. Although he did not succeed with the iPhone X.

Companies are trying to improve facial recognition and, for example, now include what are known as ‘ liveliness detection systems ‘. Which identify whether the face captured by the camera belongs to someone conscious. Or is someone asleep, unconscious or even of a deceased. It also does not work to place a phone owner’s photo. Since the recognition performs a 3D check of the person’s face. In the iPhone case, Face ID detects if the user has their eyes open and looking at the device.

Iris reading

Eye recognition is no longer just in movies. It works with an infrared emitter and the front camera. Two dots on the screen tell the user where to look.

Eye reading has its security measures, such as measuring pupil dilation under light changes, detecting natural eye movements. And even performing spectral analysis to differentiate eye tissue. The security issue it poses is that you can mistake a high-quality printed image for a natural eye.

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