Android introduced a very different kind of entry protection in 2008. Named Pattern Lock, it allowed users to swipe in a specific way across 9 dots to unlock their smartphone. It is arguably easier to input and technically much more secure than a 4 digit PIN code.

But, as time went by, people found ways to bypass it. The first method I’ve heard of is actually pretty simple: if your fingers are the least bit oily, they will leave smudges in line with the pattern you use to unlock the phone or tablet. If an intruder, then, observes the smudges, they may be able to gain access to your device. The second method is to just go by trial and error as, in my own personal experience, I’ve noticed a lot of people use letters of the alphabet (such as V, D, U, O, etc., alphabets that can be easily recreated in the pattern lock).

Now, the methods I’ve mentioned above aren’t the best when it comes to results. We’ve come across two technical ways of bypassing the pattern lock.

The two technical ways in question have been developed by m.sabra over on XDA-Developers. They require your Android device to have USB Debugging enabled from Settings > Security and that you have installed ADB on your computer.

The first method changes the value of variables lock_pattern_autolock  and lockscreen.lockedoutpermanently to 0. The second simply deletes gesture.key under /data/system.

If one of them doesn’t work, the developer suggests running the first one, rebooting, running the second one, rebooting to bypass the Android lock screen.

For detailed instructions, you can check out the official thread on XDA-Developers. The commands required are scarily simple and, overall, the two workarounds are very simple to apply.

So, what can you do to protect yourself from such sorcery? Simple – Ensure USB Debugging is disabled on your device when not in use.

NOTE : This article is strictly for educational purposes – To inform you about how you can get access to your own phone in case you forget the pattern and also how your device can be compromised. We are not to be held responsible if this method gets used for nefarious purposes.



2 Responses

  1. Interesting.
    I do not use the pattern lock.

    instead, I use third party apps that require a PIN to have access to specific apps, as defined by me.

    The more sophisticated and capable our devices become, the more we do with it, making security on on them something not to be treated with levity…

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