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Squiggly Lines Secure Smartphones

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This novel idea is still in the lab and may not necessarily make its way to future generations of iPhones.

Still, the researchers’ look into free-form gesture recognition as a security mechanism turned up some interesting results.

  • Unlike an alphanumeric password, longer or more complicated gestures were not necessarily more secure than shorter, simpler patterns.
  • The most secure gestures featured many sharp turns, not coincidentally, of the kind used to draw letters in a signature.
  • Less secure gestures had fewer turns. In addition, those turns were gentle and tended to curve in the same direction—a circle, for example.
  • In general, participants had little difficulty reproducing the shape of the gesture they had chosen. Most of their errors came when they tried to create and then replicate a gesture that required multiple fingers.

I find it interesting that the complicated gestures weren't more secure than the shorter ones.  That's counter-intuitive to me.

There's a lot encoded in even a small gesture. But you're right, that's not intuitive.

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