Are Your Communications Safeguarded? 5 Things You Should Know About Phone Encryption
One of the most heated discussions these days are held under the spectrum of communication security. Since data matters as much as cash or shares for most companies, the importance of having a secure method in which we process our business transactions become essential. Hence, by applying safety methods to our email communications, the liability factor gets narrowed down to phone calls.
Is there a way to prevent communications from being spied? Most certainly there is. Let’s analyse in detail these 5 factors you need to consider for securing your mobile conversations.
Why could people spy my calls?
There’s no straight answer to this question. For some people, business-related issues are to be weighed as some brands can hire hackers to spy on their competitors for potential product releases and what can they do in advance as a countermeasure. In a private aspect, hackers can interrupt your communications with the purpose of extortion, kidnapping or even cyber kidnapping – thus, the importance of acknowledging the potential threats we could be facing and how to prevent those events from happening.
As a fast safeguard method, avoid having sensitive conversations at public places: not just your phone calls or texts but conversations in general. It’s not paranoid, but some topics are best to be held in private locations where no one can interfere or get acquainted with the topic you need to discuss. In case you need to transport considerable amounts of money, don’t always follow the same route as hackers can track down your location even if your phone doesn’t have the GPS on. More information on this behalf can be showcased through this infographic courtesy of Ooma.
When OS protects your data
Many of you may have heard of the lawsuit presented by the FBI to Apple after the San Bernardino terrorist attack in California back in December 2015. For those unaware of what was behind the FBI pushing attitude, iPhones using iOS 8 or onwards versions happen to feature a PIN that prevents unauthorised access to the device, thus encrypting the device. This security method also includes a limit for wrong login attempts, which means that after 10 failed attempts, the device gets erased: photos, phone calls, documents, messages, apps and notes. Apple does not have any potential way to decrypt the device without the PIN itself. However, iCloud services host a partial amount of the data (depending on how users have configured their devices), which was the whole ordeal behind the FBI’s lawsuit.
Even if that content is protected through Apple’s Legal Process Guidelines state, the content can be accessed by Apple through backups.
For Android devices, the process was a bit slower than Apple’s, though, to this date, any Android-based device features an encryption protection that makes us feel secure whenever we are. For those old devices whose performance may seem clipped off because of the data encryption services, an option can be turned off anytime the user desires: something that Apple doesn’t offer to their clients and models like the iPhone 4S can experience performance struggles given the amount of data to process within their limited RAM.
Making secure calls
Though mobile encryption helps a great deal to prevent unwanted access to our devices, there are still some loose ends in which hackers can spy on our conversations, especially when it comes to phone calls, as not only matters the device itself but also the security methods used by the mobile service provider.
In case you need to share extremely sensitive information via phone, the best way to protect our interests is through VoIP services, like Skype or WhatsApp, always using phone’s LTE services and not WiFi access, especially if it is a public WiFi network.
Text message encryption
The only logical reason behind why SMS are so outdated these days is not only linked to the monetary value of SMS services but also to phone encryption. Following the guidelines of old, reliable Blackberry encryption system, Facebook’s WhatsApp is the leading service in text messaging services known to date. The hype goes far away from sharing videos, audios and photos via a message in real time, but also thanks to the encryption system applied in which no one can access data stored as there’s no virtual backup with single access option: backups used by WhatsApp require login via the device itself. Otherwise, they won’t be accessed, nor WhatsApp web services.
Apple’s iMessage follows a similar logic, though backups can be made through iCloud. Android still depends on third-party apps to provide such services to their clients.
The External Storage Factor
Whereas Apple devices don’t offer the option of hosting an external storage mean like SD cards, Android devices do, and they have covered their backs over the potential issues to arise with stolen phones or lost SD cards by enabling SD card encryption at the very same phone.
How does this system work? You need to set a password of at least 6 characters, in alphanumeric mode, for protecting the card. Options can be adjusted for full encryption of data stored on the card itself or to exclude the multimedia files, which usually take longer to encrypt. The advantage of this system is that SD cards can be only decrypted by the device in which they were encrypted, and only after entering the proper password.
Staying out of the latest trends in mobile security are, perhaps, one of the most acknowledged errors made by users known to date, and the main reason why hackers still have open gates to content we own. Take into consideration these factors for enjoying a safe mobile communication experience.