Monday, September 6, 2010

Android security

One of the scary things about smartphones is what happens if you lose one.  Android devices - the Google operating system - have constant connections without password re-check for your Google, Facebook, and other accounts.  GMail alone, if compromised, would be a serious security breach for many people.  Leaving one of these things at a bar, remembering the next morning, and finding years worth of email has been gone through by an anonymous third party is a non-option.  What can be done?

Android, until for me this week, only had a finger-swipe pattern security system.  Connect four to nine dots in any order, unlock the phone.  Turns out that there are over 300,000 combinations possible, but I just never liked it.  It always seemed to me that any reasonable unlock pattern would be too easily guessed.  The times I've seen it used, people draw Z's, lines, circles, etc. There is now a pin-pad or password option available that allows for millions of patterns.  By brute force, it could now take years to crack an Android on average - certainly more than enough time to change all your passwords.  Still, many smartphones come with remote kill capabilities, something that apparently is available through the app store for Android.

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