This is how long it takes to crack your smartphone

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Hopefully you have secured your smartphone with a code, via fingerprint or by Face ID. But that alone is not enough. Because with the right technology, experts can crack your smartphone – in minutes. Fortunately you can change this.

The security of smartphones is such an issue. Actually, all users know that it is important to protect your device with a password, fingerprint or even via facial recognition.

In contrast to this, however, is man’s greatest problem: his laziness. Even if a user knows that an eight-digit password is significantly better than a four-digit one, the perceived effort is not great enough compared to the added value to take action.

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Cracking smartphone: This is how long an exploit technology takes

It makes sense to take your time and create a (secure) password. Because what is secure in this case is a topic for a whole novel.

Shortened, however, increases with the number of characters and the used (special) characters the security. Or to put it another way: So if you want to crack your smartphone – and you do it in a violent way – you’ll be annoyed by every additional number.

Here’s how cryptography expert Matthew Green calculated back in 2018 how long it takes a technology like Graykey to decrypt your password. The researcher is referring to iPhones and their numerical code.

For example, Graykey’s hacker technology takes a maximum of 13 minutes to generate a four-digit password. On average 6.5 minutes. With six digits, the value increases to 22.2 hours in the worst case and 11.1 hours on average. These values are still comparatively low.

With eight digits, the worst case is 92.5 days. On average 46 days. And with ten digits, the worst-case scenario is that it takes 9 hours to decrypt the phone.259 days. That is more than 25 years. Even the average value with 12.6 years is incredibly high.

Use letters, numbers and special characters

Meanwhile, both iPhones and Android smartphones offer the ability to set individual codes of any length. That means: Besides numbers (ten options per digit), you can also use letters (26 options per digit) and special characters (variable options per digit) – and that makes an enormous difference.

This can be nicely calculated by a simulated brute force attack. With their help, you can crack a password, for example. This software then generates more than 2.1 billion different keys per second.

Although this technology can only be transferred to smartphone codes to a limited extent. Nevertheless, the comparison is interesting in terms of security.

So the brute force software needs for a ten-digit numeric code only 4.7 seconds. A letter code of lower case letters comes up after all 18.3 hours. If capital letters are used as well, we are already at 2.13 years.

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And the best protection against strangers cracking your smartphone is a combination of numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters. Here comes a ten-digit code to a time of 12.4 years. By special characters the value increases of course again clearly.


In general – and certainly in a somewhat simplified way – it can be said that the longer your smartphone code is and the more different characters it contains, the more secure your device is. Therefore you should become active now. Because who wants strangers to crack their smartphone?? Exactly: Nobody.

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