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by John W. Simek, Vice President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Don’t Use a PIN to Lock Your Phone

March 1, 2023

Convenience over security is a battle we fight every day. As a minimum, you should have a lock code for your smartphone. Configuring a lock code will encrypt your iPhone or Android device. However, using a PIN doesn’t really protect your digital information. Lifehacker has a post describing how thieves in New York are going that extra step beyond just stealing your iPhone. That default 6 digit iPhone PIN is pretty weak. “It’s easy enough to spot over someone’s shoulder, but some thieves are orchestrating routines to capture passwords with precision, tasking one person with recording others using the passcode on their phones for easy reference after a theft.” Once your PIN is known, the thieves own your digital life including resetting your iCloud access. Ouch!

We’ve long recommended using a passcode to lock your phone instead of a PIN. Sure, it will take a few seconds more to unlock your phone, but the increase in security is well worth it. If you currently use a PIN, move the needle a little bit on the scale from convenience towards security.

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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology