Brute force attacks are not always the most efficient way to hack systems but there is a good reason many hackers try them anyway. The R2B2 robot makes these types of attacks easier to try, at least as far as smartphones are concerned. The R2B2 punches 4 digit combinations one per second until it breaks a phone’s security screen. It might take it hours to do the job but unlike humans, robots don’t get tired. Here is how the project was described on Blackhat.com:
Robotic Reconfigurable Button Basher (R2B2) is a robot designed to manually brute force PINs or other passwords via manual entry. R2B2 can operate on touch screens or physical buttons. R2B2 can also handle more esoteric lockscreen types such as pattern tracing. R2B2 can crack a stock Android 4 digit PIN exhaustively in 20 hours. Times for other devices vary depending on lockout policies and related defenses.
The good news is this robot can’t get around your iPhone’s security system that easily (due to delays after a certain number of incorrect tries). The creators are looking to make a version that could hack ATM pins or bank vaults though.[via]