In this digitally disrupted world, most of us are connected, at all times, predominately through mobile phones or smartphones. A mobile phone has completely revolutionised the way we communicate, or more importantly, live our lives or work; it has become an inseparable part of our lives. Look at your phone, doesn’t it have your important contacts, your pictures, your bank details, your personal and professional data? But how much attention have we been paying for the security and privacy of the data that is residing on our phones?
Hardip Singh, Executive Director, Optiemus Infracom believes that a smartphone with inadequate security features is like a bank with all its doors — even the one to the vault — wide open. A recent research spanning over two years by a German security firm found that many devices have what is called a “patch gap”. In other words, a phone’s software claims to be up-to-date with the latest security updates, while it actually misses out on a number of patches. This is shocking, especially to some of us, who religiously update their smartphone software in the hope of securing it with the most updated security patch. Therefore, do remember, not all smartphones are equally secure.
So what really is a security patch and why is it so important? A patch is a small piece of software that a company issues whenever a security flaw is uncovered. Just as the name implies, the patch covers the discovered vulnerability or hole, keeping hackers from exploiting the flaw. A number of security holes have been exploited, and that lead to severe consequences before their developers’ could create a patch. None of us would have forgotten how Ransomware and WannaCry plagued us in the recent past.
Should you care about your data?
That is not even a question, is it? You wouldn’t put money in a bank that didn’t lock its safe. Or leave the doors of your home unlocked at night. So, why would you not secure the data on your phone? Think about all the data that is on your smartphone. For most of us, our phones are key to basically our entire online life, and of course offline too. Imagine, what would happen, if your data gets compromised and reaches the wrong hands. Is spending that half an hour to download and install a security update too inconvenient? The choice is yours to make- if saving that half an hour worth compromising your data, your life. Now, while those instances are few and far between, it can still happen. So, it is better to be safe than sorry! Security can seem complicated, but apps like Blackberry’s DTEK makes it simple. It automatically monitors your OS and apps and let you know when your privacy is at risk and how you can take action to improve it. Not all smartphones are equally secure or care enough about your security or privacy.
Once again- Not all smartphones are equally secure:
Each year, Google issues an annual report on Android security, which includes manufacturers who are quick in sending security updates to its users. As per the report, smartphones by BlackBerry and Essentials are few manufacturers that deliver Android security updates to flagship devices fast, “thereby providing customers with the most up-to-date security available”. When it comes to security, BlackBerry has always stood the test of time. BlackBerry focuses primarily on security and has taken extra steps to help protect the user from malware, data breaches and any attempts to hack and tamper with the OS. Though you can’t see it, do know that extra precautions are taken at both the hardware and software level to protect your phone from malicious tampering.
Many popular smartphones put the user’s private information at risk of being hacked due to slow security updates. BlackBerry is one of the few companies that’s quickest to deliver security patches to its users. Other smartphones can take weeks, months or even years to deliver security patches, leaving users vulnerable and at risk. Users should take control of their privacy and security, and ask for each monthly update to cover all relevant patches. We need to start verifying vendors’ claims about the security of our devices and ensure our personal data is being kept private.