Most people using smart devices have a simple password set up — four digits that protect your phone or tablet from prying eyes and theft. Usually, these passwords are quite easy to protect when in public; just type it in quickly and no one will notice, especially outdoors sun glare makes it hard to read your screen. However, if you find yourself typing in your password in the presence of a Google Glass wearer, beware.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell researchers found that the cameras available on some forms of wearable technology, like Google Glass and Samsung's smart watches, can be used to pick up four-digit passcodes typed into an iPad from about 10 feet away. If they are wearing a high-definition video camera, they can be up to 150 feet away. This is done through a custom algorithm which picks up on shadows from finger taps. This way, even if the camera does not capture the screen, someone could still determine the passcode just by recording your series of taps.
“I think of this as a kind of alert about Google Glass, smartwatches, all these devices,” Xinwen Fu, a computer science professor at UMass Lowell, told Wired, “If someone can take a video of you typing on the screen, you lose everything.”