I had shattered the screen on my device (both touch and display) and it was locked with a password.

I took it to a nearby repair shop, and they took a long while to do touch-testing out of my sight after the screen was changed. The duration (about 20 to 30 minutes) made me quite anxious since I could see them touching it but not what they were doing on the screen.

Was it possible for them to have accessed the data in the phone (which was behind a pattern lock) by somehow circumventing it?

I also saw them plug the phone into a device which they said was related to testing, but it did not look like a computer. Is it possible to brute force "crack" pattern locks (or even passwords) within a few minutes with that kind of device?

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    This is no different from letting someone use a phone whose screen isn't broken. – Wyzard Apr 29 '15 at 12:44
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    Given the right tools, many things are possible. A pattern lock can be broken by a smudge attack, and there are methods to disable it via adb. Question is how likely that is here, or whether there are other explanations: like a device for screen calibration (repair shops might have something like that to be used on "locked devices"). Somehow they have to check whether everything's fine (or if there're "blind spots"), right? A "shiny new screen" is useless if not working :) – Izzy May 27 '15 at 11:47
  • Excellent comment, please do post as an answer so that I mark this resolved. I also realised that it might be possible to perhaps build a device that can quickly "mirror" or "snapshot" the storage and memory of a device that the attacker can later break in leisure. Best not be in the position described in my question, I suppose. – Aditya M P May 27 '15 at 11:55

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