How much protection does your phone’s passcode really provide?

You protect your smart phone with a passcode that you need to enter before it springs to life. But just how much protection will this passcode actually provide? The troubling answer? Not quite enough, according to a recent story by the tech Web site Lifehacker. The article details several passcode exploits that hackers have been using recently to compromise smart phones. The good news is, the story does something much more comforting, too. It tells users how to best protect the data on their smartphones.

Passcode exploits

The Lifehacker story details the most recent passcode exploits which have allowed hackers to compromise Apple’s iPhone and the Galaxy Samsung smart phones. The Apple exploit, allowed criminals to access the iPhone phone app. Hackers didn’t gain total access to phones. Nevertheless they were able to use the app to make phone calls, view pictures and look at or edit users’ contact lists. The exploit intended for Galaxy smart phones operated in a different way. Hackers were able to flash the phone’s home screen for just about a second. This provided them enough time to launch apps or start downloading an app that offered them full control over the phone.

Safety not guaranteed

The Lifehacker story proves that passcodes are far from a magic pill to stop smart phone hackers. This shouldn’t be surprising. As the Lifehacker story says, passcodes have never been stronger than standard passwords when it comes to protecting smart phones. Hackers have long been able to crack lock-screen passcodes. They’ve been able to break into the hard drives of smart phones to access the data stored there.


Lifehacker offers tips for protecting your phone. First, create a passcode for your phone’s lock screen that is consisting of symbols, letters and numbers. These passcodes are far harder for thieves to crack. Next, encrypt your phone’s data. Lastly, subscribe to services such as Find My iPhone from Apple or the third-party app Prey. These nifty apps permit you track your phone if it’s stolen or you’ve lost it. You can then remotely erase the data stored on it, protecting yourself from hackers.