Android offers a number of security options for the user, like pattern, pin, password and even the worthless face unlock. However, once we set these passwords, we rarely change them. But according to experts, the safest practice is to keep changing your passwords regularly. The often you change your password, the more secured your account is.
Yet, we rarely follow the practice. Changing passwords is boring and we’re lazy. What to do? Well, maybe we could automate this too on Android.
Yes, there’s an Android app called TimePIN that can change your Android unlock pin every minute, and these will be the ones you’ll be aware of. Once you log in using a particular PIN, it will change the very next minute. Sound intriguing? Let’s see.
TimePIN for Android
After you install and launch the TimePIN app, it will tell you to agree to a long list of the terms and conditions before you can use the app (who reads it anyway). Having done that, if you have not used a PIN lock on your device, the app will ask you to setup a new default pin. This pin will also be utilized as a failsafe pin or the recovery pin if you are not able to login using the Time Pin.
Before we go ahead, lets have a look at the underlying concept of how the app works. The app locks your device as soon as you press the power button, but to unlock it, then, the pin will depend upon your system time and the additional modifier you have enabled in the app. So if you are unlocking the system at 12 noon, your unlock pin will be different than the one you used at 11:35 AM.
How the PIN Works
After you have installed and enabled the app, you will see the pin lock screen when you unlock the app. The pin to enter would be the time in 24 hour format. To confirm the pin, tap on the Demo PIN option on the app and you will see a small overlay notification showing you the pin based upon current time.
However, that’s not all, to make things complex, even if anyone knows that you are using TimePIN to generate device unlock pin, the app gives you added modifiers for added security. The modifiers like Double PIN, Mirror PIN and Reverse PIN will change the pin based upon the time. For example, if you have enabled mirror PIN option and the system time is 04:45AM, the unlock pin will be 04455440. For double pin it would be 04450445.
You can also enable two or more modifiers at the same time to make the guessing of the pin even tougher. When two or more modifiers are enabled at the same time, they are activated in the sequence they are listed in the app. For example, if you have double and mirror option enabled, the unlock PIN for the same time would be 54405440.
That was in the free version. It takes it up a notch in the paid version ($1.99) where the user can use the modifier called Offset mode and add or subtract a specific number from the time pin. It’s like a ‘seed’ based upon which your system unlock pin would be generated every time.
This is the pin you can use when you are not able to login with the time based pin. Like a master password. The app has two failsafes and one of them is activated by default. Once you restart your phone (soft boot) you will have to use the system default pin for the first time.
The second failsafe can be activated in the app settings. Once you have activated it the app will change the PIN to system default if you enter the PIN wrong for more than 5 times.
That was how you can keep your android secure by creating time based unlocking pins. For the first few times you might be confused in adding/subtracting the time and mirroring it. But once you get the groove of it, you will love the level of security provided by the app.