FBI Can’t Defeat Standard Android Screen-lock Pattern
Apparently, the standard screen-lock pattern used on Android phones is strong enough to deter major government agencies. The FBI reported that it failed to break into an Android device, specifically the Samsung Exhibit II, which may contain some evidences on a crime case.
Pattern lock is a standard security system used by Android devices and to unlock the phone, users need to move a finger in a correct pattern to trigger the unlocking mechanism.
Repeated incorrect patterns will cause the phone to be locked out, requiring the Google username and password to override it, without entering them, phone’s internal storage can’t be accessed. Eventually per issuance of search warrant, law enforcement agencies need to obtain necessary information from Google to access the internal storage of the smartphone in question.
Locking down smartphones is a necessity as they are increasingly becoming so much more personal. Today, most states allow law enforcement agencies to access suspect’s smartphone without warrant.
It is possible to physically dismantle the phone and extract data directly from internal components, however with this method; they run risk of damaging sensitive components, making a complete data recovery impossible.
Data extraction tools for forensic purposes are widely available; however they won’t work on locked devices. It seems, the standard 9-dot locking mechanism is stronger than one might suspect. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the locking mechanism used in iOS is as powerful. In October 2010, iPhone’s security system was defeated using a simple hack.