How hard is it to crack a cell phone passcode?

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HOUSTON - While Apple and the feds are at odds over getting into a San Bernardino terrorist's cell phone, it made us ask just how hard is it to hack into a phone?

Chairman of University of Houston's Electrical & Engineering Department Badri Roysam says, "There has always been a need for cryptography, except now one can mathematically prove how hard it is to break these codes."

Most iPhones require a four digit passcode.

"Each of these digits can take 10 different values from 0 up to 9.  So, there are ten thousand possible values of four digit numbers," Roysam says.

Too bad you only get 10 chances to get it right before the phone is locked for good.  That's a risk the FBI won't take, but meantime, hackers have lots advice on how they do it.

Experts say unlocking a device with a fingerprint may even be easier because fingerprints can be obtained, like from personnel files.

Who knows if Apple will help take a bite out of crime.  For now, looks like the FBI has 9,999 problems and Apple is one of them.

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