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How to Use Picture Password in BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1

DEVICES / 02.04.14 / Ty Williams

Originally posted on the Inside BlackBerry Help blog
Introduced in BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1, Picture Password is a new method of securing your device that allows you to use a combination of a number (0 to 9) and picture to unlock your device instead of typing a password. When enabled, instead of unlocking your device using a password, you’ll be shown a picture and a grid of random numbers. To unlock your device, tap anywhere on the screen and drag the number grid until your number is on top of a specific spot.

BBH-PicturePassword01 BBH-PicturePassword02

For example, in the first screenshot I have set number 1 as my number, and the top-right yellow button as my target. To unlock my device, all I need to do is drag the number grid by touching the screen anywhere I want and moving the number grid so that the number 1 lands on top of the yellow button in the top-right corner.

Picture Password not only provides you with a quick and easy way to unlock your device, it also helps prevent other types of attacks such as:

  • Smudge Attack – Picture Password always shows a random number grid whenever you unlock your device, which means you never follow the same pattern. In other words, because you always move your number from a different location on the grid, an attacker cannot establish a smudge pattern.
  • Shoulder Surf Attack – When using a simple password, someone could look over your shoulder while you enter it. Picture Password prevents this situation from occurring by drawing a random number grid and varying the size of the grid. For example, in addition to a random number grid, the grid size also randomly changes increasing and decreasing the amount of rows and columns to reduce the shoulder attack vulnerability.
  • Brute Force Attack – Picture Password addresses brute force attacks by limiting the number of guesses, varying the size, location, and pattern of the grid numbers and requiring minimum movement of the number grid.

To help you get started, here’s a quick overview of how to set up Picture Password, and a few tips of course!

Before we begin, for those using BlackBerry Balance technology, to use Picture Password you must turn off Use as my device password within the BlackBerry Balance settings screen.

Step 1 – Set a Device Password

Before you can set up Picture Password, you must first set a device password. You require this password in case you forget your Picture Password or if you need to access your device from a computer using BlackBerry Link. By design, after five failed attempts to unlock your device using Picture Password you’ll be prompted for your device password instead.

Note: If you already set a device password, proceed to step 2.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the home screen
  2. Tap Settings > Security and Privacy > Device Password
  3. Set the Device Password switch to On
  4. Optionally set Simple Password to On to use a numeric password
  5. Set a device password

After you turn on the device password option, your next step is to turn on Picture Password.

Step 2 – Turn on Picture Password

After you set a device password, complete the following steps to set up Picture Password. By default Picture Password includes several pictures you can use, but you are welcome to use any picture stored on your device, media card, or synced cloud storage.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the home screen
  2. Tap Settings > Security and Privacy > Device Password
  3. Set the Picture Password switch to On
  4. Enter your device password
  5. Complete the instructions on the screen

You have now enabled Picture Password, so let’s try it out! Press and hold the Power/Lock button on top of your device followed by tapping Lock. Wake your device by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, or by pressing Power/Lock again to see the random number grid and your picture at which point you can unlock your device.

Picture Password Tips

Detailed pictures

  • To increase security, avoid using a basic picture and use a detailed picture instead. The more detail, the more unique points you can use as your target!

Drag any from anywhere

  • After you unlock your device, you can drag your finger anywhere on the screen so that you have a clear view of where the number is moved. Tapping anywhere allows you to prevent someone from identifying what your number is, but also makes it easy for you to guide your number so it lands on the target.
Ty Williams

About Ty Williams

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