In the recent years the popularity of smartphones has grown rapidly with huge numbers of people shifting to smartphones to meet their daily needs. These devices are more users friendly, efficient and handier than your computer for performing the same tasks and functions. With the increase in efficiency of a smartphone, there have been direct increases in the risks and threats of using these devices. Old habits die hard – people have been habitual of throwing away old or unneeded paperwork which has important or sensitive information on it, similarly mobile users are usually not very careful while protecting the device.
Tracking users’ location
There is huge amount of private information available in the smartphone – Information regarding online accounts that you access from your smartphone and the sites you have visited from the phone are all stored on the device. Moreover, services and features like Google maps and other smartphone applications which provide GPS facilities can also be used to gather information about your whereabouts and current location. This data can easily be accessed by physically browsing the phone or through spyware and malware which can be installed into the handset without manually touching it and can thus be programmed to forward such sort of information. Hackers and other dodgy people intending to harm your mobile phone can even control your smartphone from a distance. This has been proven in the situation of silent activation, in which discreet calls have been made from your phone to the premium numbers without your knowledge, and you become aware of it by the end of the month on receiving your phone bill.
Apple or Android?
One cannot fathom which the safest smartphone is – each operating system has its own weak points and strengths, for example Blackberry is the only platform which offers a data encryption feature, which encrypts and secures the data in your phone – one reason for Blackberry’s popularity amongst business consumers whose priority is in keeping their data safe. Although encryption will reduce the chances of information being leaked or stolen it does not guarantee complete safety.
On the other hand, iOS maintains the sand box feature. Apple allows programs to be run separately from other OS and makes the iPhone experience far more secure. However, recent issues in multitasking technologies prove that this sand box feature may not increase the safety of the data. Another huge competitor is Android, which is notorious for its security blunders and issues. It is easier to target and hack the Android software as compared to others, as it is similar to the operating systems of computers.
However, the major problem and security lapse in Android based phones is due to the Android market place, and not the phones themselves. Being an open OS anyone can develop an app for Android and introduce it in the Android app market. They easily escape the quality check, as there are very few quality checks or security measures in the market taken before the app is made available in the market for millions of users to download and install. It is in this phase that developers implant Android spyware and spread it to different users.