Why do you lock your smartphone? To keep unauthorized eyes from being able to view your data? To keep that data safe and secure for when you need it? The new HTC One M8 is getting attention this week due to a security feature that tries to protect your phone by doing a factory reset after too many failed attempts to unlock it, but is this is case of good intentions going awry?
After five failed unlock attempts, the phone freezes-up for thirty seconds to discourage random guessing. As users attempt to unlock the phone beyond this, the count of failed attempts keeps going up and up until it hits ten… at which point the phone resets and wipes itself to factory defaults, clearing all user data in the process.
On one hand, this seems very smart, helping to shield private data against repeated attempts to access it – and certainly, that’s what HTC must have been thinking in implementing the feature.
But on the other hand, this also feels like handing attackers a new tool to cause harm; left alone with your phone for just a few brief moments, and they can destroy all your data. You wouldn’t put a “wipe this phone” button on a lockscreen for any unauthorized user to press, but that’s exactly what this amounts to.
It’s also worth considering what impact this feature could have when you’re using a lock to protect your phone from children, who might not appreciate the meaning behind the warning messages advising the user that repeated failed unlock attempts will have such a severe consequence.
Via: Android and Me