Your Android lock pattern is unbelievably predictable

Your Android lock screen patterns are so predictable, it almost makes no difference if you use one or not.

According to a study by a woman named Marte Løge, a graduate of Norwegian University of Science and Technology, a vast majority of Android users use lock patterns which are easy to guess.

The study looked at 4000 patterns created and discovered that 77 per cent of the patterns started from one of the four corners. 44 per cent of the patterns created began from the top left corner.

More than 10 per cent of the ones she collected were fashioned after an alphabetic letter, which often corresponded to the first initial of the subject or of a spouse, child, or other person close to the subject.

The average number of nodes used in the study was five, meaning the average lock screen selection was one in 7152 possibilities.

A large number of users selected four nodes, which means their pattern was one in 1624 possibilities.

As a comparison, those who used eight or nine modes had a pattern that was one in over 140,000 possible combinations.

"Humans are predictable," Løge told Ars last week at the PasswordsCon conference in Las Vegas, where she presented a talk titled Tell Me Who You Are, and I Will Tell You Your Lock Pattern. "We're seeing the same aspects used when creating a pattern locks [as are used in] pin codes and alphanumeric passwords."

Løge says that to create a successful lock pattern, use a high number of nodes, make the pattern complex with crossovers, and turn off the "make pattern visible" option so that someone can't look over your shoulder to discover your lock pattern.