Researchers at Lancaster University have use an active acoustic side-channel attack to steal smartphone passwords for the first time. On Thursday, a group of researchers from Lancaster University posted a paper to arXiv that demonstrates how they used a smartphone’s microphone and speaker system to steal the device’s unlock pattern. Although the average person doesn’t have to worry about getting hacked this way any time soon, the researchers are the first to demonstrate that this kind of attack is even possible. According to the researchers, their “SonarSnoop” attack decreases the number of unlock patterns an attacker must try by 70 percent and can be performed without the victim ever knowing they’re being hacked.

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