As more and more technologies are being packed into the mobile device, the potential for security breaches increases significantly posing huge risk to personal data, which can be taken without user’s knowledge or permission once a device is in compromised state. The potential leak areas and measures which can be taken to control the devices are as below:-
- Camera : The camera on the mobile phone, either the front or rear-facing cameras, can be accessed remotely without the user’s knowledge. Once compromised, intrusive software can be used to take pictures or view the activity via the cameras at any time. Also, the camera can be accessed by apps which have the necessary permissions and hence should be carefully evaluated to see if they are crucial to the functions of the app.
A simple and inexpensive method of blocking others from viewing from the user’s phone camera is to block it with a case that covers both the front and back of the device. However, this does not stop the actual access of the camera, but rather obscures the view similarly to the camera blockers that block the view of the laptop cameras. In order to prohibit remote access to the camera, Camera Blocker – (Anti Spyware Android) can be downloaded to restrict all access to the camera with a single click. Through the app, access to the camera is completely blocked so that no app or the system can gain entry which effectively stops unauthorized views from viruses or organizations. One of the best features of Camera Blocker is that users are able to automatically set the time that they want the camera to be disabled.
- GPS Data : Even if the GPS function of a device is deactivated, various permissions that are agreed to when using apps can still track the location even without the user knowing. Although the permissions the app has requested can be easily found, many people simply accept the request without looking into the associated security concerns. In the settings menu of both iOS and Android, users are able to see what permissions each app has access to and then disable the permissions if necessary.
- Microphone : Similar to the camera, the microphone can also be accessed without the user’s knowledge in order to listen to the conversations and other activities. As a method of eavesdropping, this has traditionally been done by police forces with the correct legal procedures but accessing the microphone has been made easier to those who have malicious intent including government organizations who engage in mass surveillance. Apps such as Microphone Block -Anti malware can protect against wiretaps either from viruses or hackers. With a single tap, users are able to block all of the access to the microphone so that no audio is captured while the app also identifies the apps that have access to it.
The most effective countermeasure to all of these access points which can be used to invade privacy is a PrivacyCase which completely blocks all connections to the phone so that hackers and organizations are not able to remotely access any aspect of the device. With this, no signals can be sent to access the phone including the camera, microphone, or GPS. However, using this method eliminates the ability to receive calls and texts at the expense of increased security and so users of the PrivacyCase must limit their connectivity in order to effectively protect their device in terms of cyber security.
By:- Sapan Talwar