Hopkins Academy

Security on our Cell Phones

In Features on October 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Scott Dwyer ’14

A quick comparison of security preferences  on mobile devices-

  1. Apple Fingerprint Scanner

The newest wave of cell phone security has hit the markets with Apple’s release of the new iPhones and iOS7.

The new iPhone 5S.

The new iPhone 5S.

Apple claims that “your fingerprint is one of the best passwords in the world” designing the new iPhone to automatically read your fingerprint using the touch ID sensor and unlock your device with just the touch of the home button. The purpose behind the touch ID fingerprint scanner is to provide users with an “effortless and simple” security option to protect your personal data stored on your iPhone. Does this new technology really work as Apple claims? Testers have found the device sometimes doesn’t work with moisture-laden fingers covered in sweat, lotion or other liquids. Although Apple’s new fingerprint scanner is innovative and exotic, the possible storage of biometric data raise concerns.


  • Fingerprint cannot be replicated

  • Easy security

  • Quick access


  • Touch ID sensor has difficulty reading fingers that have been moistened

  • Fingerprints with any physical scarring are difficult to read

  • Touch ID is limited to unlocking the phone and making store purchases

  1. Apple 4 Digit Passcode

The form of security most common today is the four-digit passcode lock. This form of security prompts the user to enter a personal pin using any combination of the nine available digits. Simple to use and easy to crack, a digit lock offers convenience, but not security . If you care a lot about the content on your device, this lock pattern probably isn’t the best for you.


  • Fast easy security


  • Easy to crack
  1. Android Dot Lock

The android pattern lock allows users to create a specialized pattern using a 3 X 3 dot grid. This offers lots of variety and opens up to a whole new creative world of security. If complex enough, pattern unlocks can be a very secure way to keep your device personal. This unlock option isn’t impossible to crack, but it will certainly offer more difficulty to break ins.


  • Offers more creativity
  • Harder to break


  • Takes time to get comfortable with a complex pattern
  1. Android Face Recognition Lock

 Android Face lock allows the user to unlock their phone by looking into the front facing camera. This form of android security records the owners facial features and allows the device to be unlocked simply by waking up the phone and positioning your face inside the prompted box. Set up for this security requires you to place your face inside a ring until the phone memorizes your face enough to recognize you. This form of security is an interesting and new way to unlock your device even though it isn’t 100% secure.


  • Difficult to bypass


  • May require multiple attempts to unlock

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