Update Your Phone Password to at Least Six Digits for More Security
You probably already know that the more digits in your passcode the better, but if you are still using a four-digit passcode, especially on your iOS device, you should probably change it. Here’s why and how to do it on iOS and Android.
The big problem is that four-digit access codes are known to be brute-forcing, and it’s getting easier. Macworld advises that even if you don’t use the old smudge attack to guess the PIN , law enforcement (and if they have one, as you know, the criminals do) have tools designed to quickly crack this password:
In a US District Court filed on December 16 in connection with an international interception of heroin at an airport, a judge agreed to withhold evidence obtained from the courier’s iPhone. It’s not the most interesting thing, but what the national security agent testified about: his colleagues regularly use IP Boxes, or whatever they describe as such, to hack iPhones.
The point is that forcing the courier to give his password before he was notified of his rights meant that the evidence had to be hidden. The agent was brought in to testify that extracting the data using the IP box was trivial enough that it didn’t matter if the access code was received incorrectly, as they could have just hacked the phone.
The judge didn’t buy it in this case, but the fact that the crates exist is problem enough for you to increase your security a bit. Apple, for its part, has encouraged people to switch to six-digit passcodes starting with iOS 9, specifically because of such boxes. On Android, you have long been able to make your password as long as you like (but no more than 17 digits). Here’s how to do it:
On your iPhone or iPad :
- Tap “Settings” on the home screen and tap “Password”.
- Enter your current password
- Click “Change Password”
- You will be immediately prompted for a six-digit access code. Enter a new password and press again to confirm.
On your Android phone or tablet :
- Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Settings gear
- Scroll down and tap Security
- Tap Screen Lock and then PIN.
- Enter your current PIN, then enter a new PIN. Enter it again to confirm.
That’s all there is to it. It’s a small thing, but it can definitely improve your safety. A number of people have also commented that the best way to completely bypass this issue is to exchange the PIN for a full password on your iOS or Android phone, which we agree is the best security option.
Sure, the average thief wants to sell your phone, not take what’s on it, but given how much sensitive information is on our phones these days, you can’t be too careful.
Switch to six-digit iOS passcode | Macworld