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System and method to prevent the detection of smudged access code pattern

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000217985D
Publication Date: 2012-May-14
Document File: 4 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database


Smart phones carry many pieces of personal information, are often logged in to many accounts from which purchases can be made, and soon will carry the wallet too. Most people have an access pattern to unlock their device. Repeated usage leaves smudges on the screen. The directional swipe pattern can be easily guessed with a few tries by simply looking at the smudge patterns.

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System and method to prevent the detection of smudged access code pattern

Disclosed here is a system and a method which forces the user to orient the phone in different directions before each swipe. This will vary the smudge patterns on the phone and thus make it harder to guess the pattern. It will also add another layer of access control to the swipe pattern which will make it more difficult to break into the phone.

Currently, the access pattern is swiped with the help of a matrix of dots on the phone. Each time the phone needs to be unlocked, the phone displays the matrix. The user swipes the pattern by connecting the dots in a pattern.

This invention forces a user to properly orient the phone (the proper orientation varies and is communicated to the user each time) before swiping it. This will prevent the pattern from becoming singularly evident on the screen. There will also now be two pieces of information needed to unlock the phone: 1) the swipe pattern and 2) the phone's orientation. This second requirement can often go unrecognized by potential hackers, causing them to incorrectly deduce that they have misunderstood/failed to obtain the swipe pattern.

Given below are 3 example methods in increasing order of complexity and protection strength. These are examples only. Many similar methods can be devised which will support the disclosed method.

Example 1

A small arrow is displayed somewhere on the phone. The position or the direction of the arrow can be configured based on which the phone has to be rotated. For example, the phone can be configured such that the arrow should be on the left. Swiping the phone with this orientation alone will provide the correct pattern.

Configuration Rule (known to the correct user):


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The arrow should: point up
point down

point left

point right

be on the left

be on the right

be at the top

be at the bottom

Example 2

Rotate the phone such that the chosen color (or pattern, to allow for usage by the color blind) should be in the chosen position (as configured) before the correct swipe pattern will work.

The user chooses the color/pattern that will matter. And the user also picks a position in which the color/pattern must appear to be in the proper orientation. When the user (or hacker) attemp...