Android offers several ways to lock the smartphone and most notable ones include pattern lock, PIN and the new FaceLock on Android 4.0 ICS and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. FaceLock, however, was found to be vulnerable soon after the launch of Ice Cream Sandwich as it authenticates even if a picture of owner is shown to the camera. Google did try to fix this issue in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean by adding something called “Liveness Check”, where in which the user is required to prove his aliveness by blinking his eyes in order to unlock the phone using facial recognition, but hackers found a workaround for this too, and all it requires is a bit of photo editing skills up the sleeve in order to circumvent Jelly Bean’s Face Unlock system. That’s pretty insecure, which makes sense to lock your Android device using PIN or pattern lock if you do have important data on your phone.
Pattern lock is pretty safe to use, but what about the times when you forget the pattern you set? It’s like leaving your car keys inside the car or house and locking it from the outside. In case of house, you can probably hire a locksmith to get things done, or you can probably break in, but is possible to break into your Android device if you have forgotten the pattern? The answer is Yes, says a senior member of XDA forum, m.sabra.
M.sabra has come up with a way. Using his method, you can bypass the pattern lock system on any Android device, but good things always come with a catch. In order to have this bypass working, it is required to have the “USB debugging” option already enabled. It also means that if you’re locked out of your phone and you don’t have the USB debugging option enabled, you’re pretty much out of luck. Users who are familiar with modding and flashing should be familiar with this option.
It is worth noting that this hack will work even if the device isn’t rooted. In order to override the pattern unlock, you are required to push several lines of commands through ADB, which can be found on the original hack thread at XDA-Developers over here. Once you punch in the commands, you can reboot to find out that any pattern will unlock your device. Though this method will work on non rooted devices, it also depends on device’s ROM. Apparently, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is immune to this hack, but it will work on most of the Android versions, including the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but again, it all depends on the stock ROM too, so it may or may not work in your case.
The discovery of this hack is great for people who genuinely tend to forget their password, but nobody is stopping thieves from making use of this method. All you can do is work out some memory exercise and keeping the USB debugging option disabled will also ensure security of your data. You can also opt for double authentication system, just to make sure your data is safe.