Password strength on mobile devices

The article last week concentrated on improving the strength of your passwords to user accounts and online portals, but what about mobile devices?  Say you are in a pub or nightclub, and you see that someone has left their phone at a table or a the bar, even the most honest person would instinctively touch the screen to see who’s phone it is.  It’s most likely locked, and many mobile devices are protected by a four digit pin number or numeric pattern.  You have 1 in 10,000 chances of guessing the passcode of the found phone, with passcodes ranging from 0000 to 9999.  You clearly don’t have time to try them all, unless you are a criminal who has a bit more patience than perhaps most of us.  Actually the chances of unlocking the phone are higher than 1 in 10,000 as some codes are used much more frequently than more random sequences of numbers.

What about your own mobile phone, iPad or tablet?  If you use any of the patterns of ‘corners’ or ‘lines’, go change your pin number, straight away while you think about it.  Go on do it!

For example, an iPhone gives you 8 attempts at accessing the device before it is remotely wiped.  All data is wiped from the phone, preventing someone else accessing your email, photos, contacts and other business or personal data.

So if someone found your phone or tablet and tried codes such as 0000, 1234, 4321, 1379, 1793, 2580, 1595, and 2468, in just 8 attempts would they be successful in unlocking the device?

If you have an iPhone or iPad go to ‘settings -> Passcode Lock’.  There should be an option at the bottom of the screen showing ‘Erase Data’.  Make sure this is enabled, especially if you use your phone for business use.


Top 25 used passwords – examples of poor password strength

Take a look at the list of passwords below.  If any of your passwords match these, then stop reading this article and go and change it.  Go and improve your password strength immediately!

1. 123456

2. password

3. 12345678

4. qwerty

5. abc123

6. 123456789

7. 111111

8. 1234567 – Appeared in the 2014 list, and is obviously stronger than 123456 – what next year?  12345678, obviously!

9. iloveyou

10. adobe123

11. 123123

12. admin

13. 1234567890

14. letmein

15. photoshop

16. 1234

17. monkey

18. shadow

19. sunshine

20. 12345

21. password1

22. princess

23. azerty

24. trustno1

25. 000000


iOS security

As well as improving password strength, improving security on iOS devices is easy. Ensure that the ‘erase data’ option is enabled.

Go to settings->Passcode lock

ios erase data option

ios erase data option