Why Your Smartphone Isn’t As Secure As You Think It Is

Smartphones are now used for more purposes than ever before. They are used to store personal information and to access bank accounts. This means that their value to hackers has never been higher.

Smartphones are designed with this knowledge in mind. But there’s a limit to what manufacturers can do to prevent unauthorized access and spying. Smartphones are still more secure than computers but this doesn’t mean that they can prevent all unwanted activity.

Here’s why your phone may not be as secure as you think it is.

Why Would Anyone Want Access to Your Phone?

If you store valuable information on your phone, that information can obviously be stolen. But regardless of what’s on your phone, getting you to install the wrong app can still prove profitable.

A malicious app can run invisible ads in the background for the purposes of click fraud. Or it can display pop-ups which trick the user into providing personal information. Many apps also track user behavior for advertising purposes and this isn’t always done with user consent.

8 Reasons Your Smartphone May Not Be as Secure as You Think

Smartphones offer a lot of protection against these threats. But this doesn’t mean that your smartphone isn’t being used against you.

1. Your Smartphone Isn’t Being Updated

Smartphone updates need to be installed on a regular basis. Hackers are always finding new vulnerabilities and the main purpose of updates is to fix these vulnerabilities as they are discovered. If your phone isn’t being updated, it isn’t protected from this problem.


People often use outdated phones voluntarily, but it can also happen because the phone manufacturer is no longer providing security updates. Regardless of why it happens, an outdated phone is a security risk and shouldn’t be used for any important purposes.

2. Official Apps May Have Malware

If you care about security, you probably only download apps directly from Google’s App Store or Apple. This protects you against most malicious apps, but even these platforms aren’t perfect.

Malicious apps are occasionally approved and because of the popularity of these platforms, they are often heavily used before they are removed.

This problem is difficult to avoid, but you can protect your phone by only downloading well known apps and uninstalling anything that you don’t need.

3. Official Apps May Not Respect Your Privacy

Many otherwise respectable apps don’t respect user privacy. This isn’t a problem for all users but if you value your privacy, it’s important to choose the apps that you install carefully. The alternative is to find that your behavior is constantly being tracked.

Any app published on the Play Store or the App Store is required to list what information it collects. However, it’s up to users to actually read this information and make their decisions accordingly. Many free-to-use apps are free because they are collecting personal information.

4. Unofficial Apps Are Installed

If you download apps from unofficial sources, you may be inviting malware onto your phone. Official app stores aren’t perfect, but you are guaranteed a certain level of protection that it isn’t offered elsewhere.

If somebody wants to promote a malicious app, getting the app accepted onto an official source is difficult and most attempts fail. Because of this, many cybercriminals use unofficial sources to promote their products instead.

5. Your Smartphone Isn’t Locked Properly

A properly locked smartphone cannot be accessed by anyone. But there are many ways that a smartphone can be locked and effectiveness varies. If you use a PIN code, your code is only as secure as it is private.

Many people input their codes in public which potentially defeats the purpose. Facial recognition is also possible to crack, regardless of what you do to prevent intrusions. Smartphones that are locked in this way can potentially be unlocked by using photographs of the owner. The most secure option for locking a device is fingerprint unlocking or a PIN that nobody knows.

6. You’ve Allowed Too Many Permissions

Permissions offer complete control over what apps are allowed to do. Provided permissions are sufficiently restricted, you can install a malicious app, and it won’t actually be able to do anything. Unfortunately, permissions aren’t always adequately used.

If you install an app and don’t restrict what it can access, you are basically trusting it with all of your data. To avoid this problem, you should grant as few permissions as possible even with apps that you trust.

7. Smartphones Don’t Offer Phishing Protection

A phishing page is a website that appears to be legitimate but is actually designed to steal information. They typically ask you to log in to one of your accounts and upon doing so, your password is stolen.

Smartphones are designed to protect against malware, but they offer almost no protection against phishing. While your phone is secure, this doesn’t mean that you cannot be hacked as a result of using it. To avoid phishing pages, always check the URL carefully before providing personal information.

8. Pegasus Is Now a Threat

Smartphones are difficult to hack but not impossible. Pegasus is a software program that can be used to hack into any smartphone and turn it into a listening device. Once installed, it is also capable of copying any data that it finds. There is no protection against it.

Pegasus is only available to government actors, so the average person doesn’t have to worry about it. But many people have been surprised to learn that this type of technology is available to anyone. It also demonstrates that for the right price, smartphones really aren’t secure at all.

Smartphones Are Secure but Not Impenetrable

Smartphones are much more secure than computers, but security still needs to be taken seriously. Installing malicious apps on peoples phones is highly profitable regardless of who the victim is. Protecting against this outcome is therefore important.

To keep your phone as secure as possible. It’s important to be careful what apps you install, what permissions you grant them, and what security settings you use in general. You also need to watch out for phishing-based scams which smartphones offer no protection against.

A bunch of Samsung smartphones.

Think Your Phone Has Been Hacked? Here’s What to Do Next

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