Smudge Marks Touchscreen Security Risk?

Could smudge marks on your touch screen monitors leave you vulnerable to a security breach?  According to a University of Pennsylvania study it’s true!  Researchers took photos of the smudge trails left on various touchscreens, digitally increased the contrast and found they could unlock secure touchscreens 92% of the time! 

I just checked out my new, totally cool android phone and sure enough, there are my paw prints leaving a “smudge trail” where I unlock the unit.  My phone is no big security breach, but this could affect touchscreen interfaces such as bank machines, voting machines, or any other public or industrial touchscreen requiring a graphical pattern password. 

While I wouldn’t lie awake worrying about this, don’t write it off either.  The underbelly of society seems to have no shame and no lack of perseverance in acquiring stuff that does not belong to them.  If you’re using secure touchscreens in your business, consider switching to an alphanumeric password on a keyboard if possible.  Or, you can also have users wipe their hands across the screen a few times or use a touchscreen-appropriate cleaning cloth.

Researchers are now investigating other devices that may be susceptible and various other types of smudge attacks such as heat trails caused by the heat transfer of a finger touching a screen.  Something new to worry about…

If you are worried that your industrial touch screen monitor needs repair, send it in to our expert tech team for a free evaluation and quote.  We repair most touchscreen, LCD and CRT monitors including Allen Bradley touch screens, ELO, Fanuc, LG, NEC, Microtouch, Okuma and many other touchscreen manufacturers.  Check out our website,  or call our helpful customer service staff at 800-605-6419.