Phone security is a very detailed and often complicated subject to understand and talk about, but it is still extremely important that everyone know the basics, regardless of how technologically savvy you are. In todays post, we are going to look at some of the phone security steps that can help keep your messages safe, as well as some of the extra things that can help take your security to the next level.
The first few steps for phone security
When it comes to keeping your phone secure, the following three points are a great place to start:
⦁ Hardware: When it comes down to it, not every phone out there has the same level of security. We make a point of only choosing from BlackBerry, Google and Apple, as they provide the most secure options available on the market. Going with any of these is a good place to start, especially with flagship iPhones, Key and Pixel devices. All of these contain tamper-resistant chips, which help lower the chance that malware would be able to compromise your device.
⦁ Software: It may seem annoying, but making sure you have the latest updates and patches installed is a must. These are not to change the UI or take up memory, but instead are constant fixes and additional defences against new attacks. Any device that has not got the latest updates is a definite target for a hacker
⦁ Passcode: It may seem far too simple, but even juts having a simple 4-digit passcode helps keep your phone protected, even more then it may first seem. When you create and activate a password for a device, the device then encrypts your phone and everything on it. Every smartphone that has been released in the last 6 years has device encryption as a default once you have put in a passcode. And the longer it is the better. A good combination of numbers and letters is a great combination to go with.
The best way to stop any attackers is to make life difficult as possible for them should they attempt to try to get at your data. Most hackers prefer an easy target then a hard one. The steps shown above will not suddenly turn your phone into a miniature Fort Knox, but it makes your device a far more intimidating to any hacker.
How phone security is handled by SKY ECC
With SKY ECC, we make sure that as well as covering the basics, you have a few more additional layers of protection:
⦁ Hardware: As mentioned above, we only use devices that are the most secure options out there. Each one is built with high quality security practices, build standards and tamper-resistance chips.
⦁ Software: To makes sure that the software cannot impact the app itself, SKY ECC is installed on an encrypted container inside the operating system. No matter how insecure or compromised the rest of the software may get, it cannot impact the app. It also allows for rollback protection, which stops any attacker from pushing your device back to a previous version, that is far more insecure.
⦁ Passcode: As minimum, all ECC devices need a six-digit passcode. Should someone break through the brute-force protections in place then ECC will step in and stop them immediately. On top of this, we make sure to disable biometrics, such as face scanning or fingerprints. Whilst these may seem like they offer great ease, they can easily degrade security.
Taking phone security up a step
The first section was the easy parts, this next part looks at what you connect to and what you need to do to stay secure:
⦁ App permissions: The majority of apps these days harvest a truly staggering amount of data from there users, the scale is unnerving. Many of the apps that do this are “free” apps that use this to generate revenue. You need to make sure that each of the apps you have installed only has permission to basic information. Essentially, the only things these apps actually need. Apps often ask to have access to your GPS, camera, photos, microphone and contacts, but need absolutely none of these to function properly. And with all this data they harvest, it is often let completely exposed. A hacker can break in and suddenly have thousands, if not millions of people’s data at an instant. Make sure to go into your settings and review what access each app has. It can be an instant reaction just to click “allow” when an app pops up, but just remember to take a second to think about it.
⦁ Wi-Fi: To say Wi-Fis truly amazing is an understatement. Thanks to it, we can travel around whilst still connect, without the need for miles of wires. But it is not without downsides. And one of those is that public Wi-Fi is not always set up with security in mind. Your local coffeeshop or bar may be a great place to relax, but it does not mean you should with your online security. Always be cautious of what network you join and if you have to join a public wi-fi location, make sure to use a VPN and avoid anything that may involve personal or confidential information, such as financial documents or messaging your doctor.
Connections can often present the biggest flaws in our online safety, especially with phone safety. Be it companies harvesting your data, or hackers targeting you through unprotected Wi-Fi spots, they are people out there who will use it to their advantage. These steps should help you stop them in their tracks when it comes to targeting you.
Keeping securely connected with SKY ECC
When it comes to Wi-Fi, SKY ECC is always on hand. If it sees a connection it does see as secure, it will not let you log in. When connecting to our secure and private mobile data network, and when using Wi-Fi, all communications are encrypted as default. As an additional step, we make sure to pass all your already encrypted data through anonymizing gateways, to make sure that if anyone is trying to sneak around the connection, they cannot follow you onto our communication servers.
The image below may help visualise how our network connections work.
For push notifications, it can be difficult to encrypt, anonymise and protect them. To get around this, session tokens, containing the smallest amounts of information possible are used to tell you when you have a new message. This link can help you understand more on our network security, whilst the image below can help explain how the tokens operate in push notification servers.
Keeping an eye on the apps you install
Your security can be severely impacted depending on what you install on to your phone. Some apps can help and other can cause great harm. When it comes to phone security, you should check these 5 things regularly:
⦁ Antivirus protection and malware: Each time you connect to the internet, malware could potentially be downloaded. For mobile apps, there are many different types of malware lurking. A basic malware or free antivirus app can keep your protected from them. Even with the most secure hardware at your disposal, you should still use one.
⦁ Old apps: Over time, some apps begin to no longer be supported and can become extremely compromised, potentially then be using to hack your phone. Going through the list of apps you have and deleting those that you no longer have any use or need for is an effective and extremely secure tactic.
⦁ Password manager: These days, you need passwords for numerous different things and it is fairly self-explanatory why using the same password for all of them is not a smart idea. Installing a password manager can help keep your phone secure and let you use extremely complex codes, nigh on impossible to remember, to keep your accounts secure and safe. It also smart to disable Smart Lock for passwords.
⦁ Find My iPhone/Device: Both Find My iPhone and Find My Device are extremely useful, allowing you to locate a lost phone, as well as in the case of your phone being stolen, the ability to wipe the device.
⦁ Manage corporate devices: When you have a multiple devices spread out amongst your company, it can often be hard to keep tabs on each and every one. This allows for you to have control over these devices, even if you do not have it psychically near you. You can locate and wipe devices, similar to the previous part. For this, SKY WORK is a great tool to accomplish this job.
SKY ECC and apps
Every SKY ECC phone is a managed device. This means that every single feature that could potentially compromise your security and privacy has already been disabled. For malicious apps, it would be impossible to get them onto the device as all unauthorized apps are blocked from being downloaded even if they are on official app stores. Features such as Bluetooth and all unauthorized connections are also blocked, so that the device can never be compromised. With managing devices, we have more granular control to security settings then you would with the setting available to you on your device.
Advanced steps to keeping your phone secure
Keep these tips in mind every day as they can help keep your phone secure:
⦁ No rooting or jailbreaking: Customizing your phone sounds great but doing it at the compromise of your security and privacy is not the way to go. Rooting and jailbreaking devices has become popular recently as people try to access banned apps or activate “special” features, as well as personalize their devices. But doing this literally compromises the entire security your phone has to stop the malicious malware that might come from these. Unless you happen to be an elite level phone security expert, don’t try it.
⦁ App stores: Make sure that when you download an app, it is from an official store. Malware and other potential problems are kept out by Google’s Play Protect, as it screens each app. The reason why you can’t use other app stores with Apple is because outside of official app stores, it is a minefield of malware.
⦁ Ransomware: When opening messages from a contact you do not know, you should be cautious, when links are involved, doubly so. Even the most innocent of links could contain an entire load of malware. Be cautious in what you open and always double check who you have received the email from. You should also check the link when it has come from someone you know, just to be safe.
⦁ Biometrics: There is one massive flaw with biometrics that many people seem to forget: Once your biometrics are compromised, you can never replace them. Ever. You can’t change your fingerprint or replace it. But it can easily be stolen. Some white hat hacker have shown that a single HD photo can fool biometrics easily, a single peace sign is all that is needed. Take the scene from Ant-Man, where a biometric lock is opened with just some superglue and tape. Sounds like Hollywood fantasy, right? In fact, it could actually work and the TV show MythBusters proved it, albeit a little bit more complex then was shown in the movie. So maybe iris canners may be the safe bet then? Sadly not, as HD photos can help fool those too.
⦁ Public Chargers: Remember, always use your own charger and never use public USB ports. They can be very convenient, especially at airports and malls but juice jacking is a serious and real problem. Hackers will always target convenience, as it more often then not exposes weaknesses. If you connect up to a juice jacking port, it has the potential to have full access to everything in your phone. Anything they want to steal is right there for them to take.
Being vigilant is one of the keys to phone security. These points can help keep your device safe each day, as making sure that you are aware of the dangers is just as important as the software and hardware on the phone.
How SKY ECC makes sure none of these are a problem
Let’s go through each of these points:
⦁ SKY ECC can’t install on to any device designed to jailbreak or root. To do either process, the tampering chips become triggered meaning the device is not secure.
⦁ SKY ECC devices have only certain apps available as we restrict others to keep devices safe.
⦁ You can only communicate with people you wish to talk to on SKY ECC, so there is no chance of getting a link from a random person. Keyloggers are unable to “Call home”, as to take you information and send it to themselves.
⦁ With SKY ECC, all biometrics are disabled. We believe that biometrics merely provide a false sense of how secure you and your device are, whilst at the same time providing a massive weakness.
⦁ There is nothing that can be done to stop a juice jacking charger. If you decide to plug one in, nothing can be done. But for USB connections, it is a different story. All connections via USB are blocked, protecting your connection. Even if it should take hold, SKY ECC is within a separate protected container away from other apps.
Be smart when it comes to protecting your phone security
As you will have noticed, many of the tactics mentioned here apply to other mobile devices, as well as desktop computers. These tips are a good way to make sure you stay vigilant and keep your phone secure.
To have the best option for phone security, contact SKY ECC from the button below and let us help keep your messages private and secure today.