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Hackers Can Guess Your Cell Phone Security PIN Just by Watching the Phone's Tilt As You Type

Think your cell phone's security PIN is secure? Here's a new worry: hackers can guess your mobile phone's security PIN with astonishing accuracy just by watching how the phone tilts when you type them in.

"Most smart phones, tablets, and other wearables are now equipped with a multitude of sensors, from the well-known GPS, camera and microphone to instruments such as the gyroscope, proximity, NFC, and rotation sensors and accelerometer," Maryam Mehrnezhad of Newcastle University said, "But because mobile apps and websites don’t need to ask permission to access most of them, malicious programs can covertly ‘listen in’ on your sensor data and use it to discover a wide range of sensitive information about you such as phone call timing, physical activities and even your touch actions, PINs and passwords."

By analyzing the movement and tilt of the phone using data collected by the phone's various internal sensors, the security team was able to crack the four-digit PIN with an astounding 70% accuracy on the first guess, and 100% by the fifth.

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