The paper mentioned in the article: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/wangz3/publications/ndss_17.pdf
I’m not sure I understand what’s new and novel about this attack. If an attacker can record video of you unlocking your phone, it’s already game over. Even the movie Sneakers showed this in 1992.
Or am I misunderstanding something?
‘Sneakers’ showed how hard it was even with video of the keyboard. “She’s in the way.”
In this case, they can guess the pattern even without seeing the screen, buy just analyzing the finger movement relative to the location of the device. The implication here, in my opinion, is that you could be compromised by unlocking your phone in view of say, a security camera.
It’s still seems a bit unimpressive as the paper says they need to see your finger tip and know how many points are on the grid. That’s pretty close to seeing the screen. But I’ll bet it’s not a far leap to be able to analyze the movement of the hand from any angle and accomplish the same thing. Especially considering they can already get speech from the vibration of a bag of chips.
I saw that MIT paper on recovering speech from vibrations. Now that is some cool research. :)