Finding ways to bolster your mobile security can be a pain. This goes double when the hardware itself has specific vulnerabilities that put you at risk. This article covers three ways that is changing.

It varies per device and software used, but Android users are familiar with potentially devastating security risks. For example, the Krack Attack WiFi threat and the Cloak and Dagger Attack are specific to Android devices.

But many smartphone users might be in the dark about how to best safeguard their phones. How can you know which security apps to use in the sea of options?

Here are four quick ways to hack-proof your mobile devices with the latest tech.

image of a phone with a security app open for article 3 Ways Mobile Tech is Hack-proofing Itself Beyond Security Apps
If only it were that easy. | BiljaST | Pixabay.com

1. You Still Need to Invest in Security Apps

This might seem like a straightforward strategy, but it can be very frustrating.

The big question you have to ask first is: do you want something free or paid? If you do want a service you pay for, how much can you spend? What is the purpose of the device in terms of usage types and amounts?

It also varies based on what mobile device you are using and its purpose. Your smartphone, for instance, has a great variety of uses. Conversely, you might only use your Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface for work.

A paid app might be better for your smartphone, but a free app might be sufficient for your other devices. All of these questions can significantly cut down the time you’ll need to spend sifting through security apps.

To save you a little time, we compiled quick lists for both Android and Apple devices:

Apple

  • Tor Browser – allows for secure web browsing
  • Signal – encrypted voice-calling and messaging app
  • 1Passwordpassword generator and protector
  • NordVPN – web traffic encryption and re-routes using secure VPN
  • Lookout – security management with paid identity protection and insurance

Android

  • Avast – general firewall, malware detection, and security app (Free!)
  • Trend Micro – malware detection, real-time protection, and other features
  • AVL – strictly malware protection without other bells and whistles
  • Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus – app scanner malware detection that’s 50% off right now
  • 360 Security tons of features in one security app with free options

These are some of the best apps to start making your mobile devices more secure. With these, you can take the first step into making your mobile device reasonably hack-proof.

But the tech world relies on more than just security apps to keep IoT devices safe. New hardware and upcoming network changes also signal new protection tools.

2. Wider Use of Fingerprint Passwords & Face Recognition

Many phone companies have already integrated fingerprint recognition into their devices. At MWC 2018, the Vivo Apex debuted an in-screen fingerprint display scanner. But it isn’t just hardware that makes use of the technology.

From banking apps like Chase and PayPal to the diary app Journal., fingerprints are the future of mobile device protection. Of course, with Apple’s Face ID on the iPhone X, fingerprints might have competition.

image of Apple Face ID for article 3 Ways Mobile Tech is Hack-proofing Itself Beyond Security Apps
Apple Face ID | Apple

Of course, both of these technologies come with their own sets of risks.

The New York Times reported on the potential security risks of fingerprint recognition in 2017. The risk involves the fact that most phones only read partial fingerprints instead of full ones. This means that fingerprint recognition is vulnerable to spoofing.

Is Apple’s Face ID more hack-proof than fingerprint recognition?

Well, Bkav Corp was able to trick Face ID with a mask in November of last year.

While we will have to wait for more demos and tests to verify security, touch ID and Face ID can be added to your current mobile security system for added protection.

In the meantime, here are some useful facts about the two technologies:

  • Face ID won’t work if you are wearing a headscarf such as a hijab.
  • Touch IDs don’t work if the sensor is wet or dirty.
  • Both technologies can be bypassed by passcodes or patterns depending on the device.
  • Businesses can apparently track device fingerprinting.

It may seem like there’s just no way to stay any kind of private in an IoT world. Well, the next item on this list might be able to help with that.

image of 5G end-to-end strategy for article 3 Ways Mobile Tech is Hack-proofing Itself Beyond Security Apps
5G end-to-end strategy concept. | ZDNet

3. 5G Connections are Right Around the Corner

Borje Ekholm, Ericsson CEO, told MWC 2018 that 5G is very near to becoming reality.

5G promises larger capacity, lower latency, and gigabit speeds. That also points to lower costs, improved efficiency, and even more insights to mobile traffic. But with increased access comes increased vulnerabilities to IoT threats, right?

Industry specialists speculate that 5G will include better privacy features. It will render useless IMSI catchers (a.k.a. stingrays) according to ZDNet.

Pro-tip: IMSI stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity and corresponds to a network number from your phone.

These catchers can be used to track communications, but 5G will (supposedly) use encryption. The Subscription Permanent Identifier (SUPI) claims to offer a more private and safe connection.

But 5G won’t truly be implemented until 2019 and 4G/3G both claimed to do that same. We will have to wait and see how this hack proof strategy unfolds.

image of various smartwatches such as Apple Watch and Samsung Gear for article 3 Ways Mobile Tech is Hack-proofing Itself Beyond Security Apps
Various smartwatches. | Newatlas.com

4. Techwear can Help With IRL Security

Personally, I’ve put off investing in techwear simply because of the cost/benefit analysis. Having it to track fitness is cool and it could help organization, too. But with the high price points of the “good” ones, it never seemed like the right time.

However, new techwear can actually help stop real-world crimes like theft.

Techwear uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your mobile devices. So, if your smartwatch suddenly shows that the device has been disconnected, you might have been pickpocketed.

As The Guardian points out, your device will still likely be less than 50 meters away. With this new tech, you can more swiftly react to the situation and (hopefully) get your phone back.

One last quick tip: don’t buy into devices that claim to be “hack-proof”. The $1,100 USD phone designed by John McAfee claims to be hack proof. But it still runs Android which makes it vulnerable to the same bugs as other devices using the software.

What precautions and security apps do you suggest for a hack-proof mobile device?

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