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My New Phone Has New Features!

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

Anthony McDaniel - Author of Blind Spot: Smartphone and Computer Personal Security Guide [Link]

Whenever I turn on the TV, I am sure to be encountered with an ad about some new technology. “Announcing the new iDevice now with a new convenient feature! And of course, it has AI involved somehow.” Smartphone companies have been formulating ideas to implement into their phones for the purpose of "added security" and "enhanced experience". Just recently with added biometrics capabilities like fingerprint and facial recognition. Exploits were discovered for fingerprint scanner became pretty common and the feature quickly is becoming obsolete. Now replaced on some newer model flagship smartphones.

Beyond security features, for the "enhanced experience" have developed their own versions of virtual assistants like Google Assistance, Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa. All working to offer you conveniences and by integrating into damn near everything appliance. Everything from TVs, speakers, video games and thermostats! these AI programs will request access to your information if you're using the aforementioned using facial recognition in some capacity.

More often than not a new feature phased out by the next release and others service a major benefit. Like Smartphones and mobile hotspot and the ability to watch and play games on the go. As we continue to move in a direction where devices can get new features via updates over the internet and new devices are released with complex functions it’s important to understand that each new feature may come with a vulnerability that you may not be aware.


What are Vulnerabilities?

Vulnerabilities are loopholes that are discovered that can be exploited. It can be the result of bad or lazy programming, debugging code that wasn’t removed allowing others to discover and exploit, or a technology being depreciated and lacking adequate support.

Example: New Web Browser Update!

A new web browser update allows you to share your online accounts information with any device you log in to their service with.

Vulnerability To Consider

Information can be left on devices you may have forgotten about or are shared with other people.

Example: GeoTagging in digital photos

When you take a photo, you can automatically have your location information embedded into the image. This can be an awesome feature if you upload often to social media and want others to know where you are

Vulnerability To Consider

As awesome a feature, it is to have your location automatically recorded, You may not always want your photos to record where you are. Special cases may include if your military and don’t want your exact location given away. Fortunately, there are ways to restrict apps and digital camera from recording your location, you need to explore your device photo and location settings.



Understand the App does what it does

Applications are designed to accomplish a task. When you go to install an application on your computer or smartphone, you need to know exactly what the application does. If you need a flashlight, then install a flashlight app. Know that different developers make their flashlight apps do different things like offer flashlight capabilities, but also saves your contacts :(

Limit the device to perform only the actions you intend for it to accomplish

If you download a system optimization app and you only want the app to clear your browser data. After you first launch the application the app will ask if you need access to your photos, web browsers, videos, general storage, and contacts. If You're only planning on using it for your web data. Then consider disallowing access to your photos, videos, and location data.

Install apps from first-party sources & trusted sources

Android and iPhone both offer a library of approved a vetted software on their software catalog, Apple App Store and Google Play Store. To minimize the chance of getting malicious software,

Running Updates

Keeping your devices and applications up to date is crucial. Vulnerabilities are discovered often. And when they are discovered, the manufacturing company will have a patch update released to address the vulnerability as quickly as possible. When vulnerabilities are discovered, cybercriminal hackers are quick to exploit vulnerability as much as they can.