“Equifax, a company whose operations effectively rely only on data security and data processing, saw the personal details (Social Security numbers, addresses, full names, etc.) of approximately 145.5 million of its American, Canadian, and British clients get exposed by hackers. This fracas, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg.”
How can you protect yourself from this kind of private data leaking if you don’t even know about it? In this article we’re going to look at the most commonly used devices that store most of our data, which are our phones. Let’s check how reliable they are when it comes to safeguarding our privacy and security in the face of such attacks.
Current smartphones from a privacy perspective
The more sophisticated a device is, the better protection it has, you may believe. But paradoxically, the opposite is also true: the more functionality, the more information your phone is transmitting straight to strangers. These are the most commonly used smartphones and their respective privacy mechanisms.
Here’s a review from Zero Day by Jack Whittaker from 2015, coincidentally just before BlackBerry went down:
“Facebook accessed my location a total of 194 times in seven days.
Skype accessed my phone contacts list a total of 1,814 times in the past seven days.
Twitter accessed my location 704 times in the past seven days.”
“DTEK records when an application accesses highly-private sensors (microphones, cameras, etc.) and prompts the user to take action when an app oversteps its boundaries. Locker, on the other hand, is an encrypted safe storage space to store sensitive photos and documents. ‘Privacy shade’ blacks out the entire display and only enables a small area to prevent over-the-shoulder peeking. It even has a Redactor tool that lets you hide sections of the screen before sharing.”
Will this be a better BlackBerry than four years ago? We’ve yet to see results.
“Samsung’s apps (Mail, Browser, Gallery, Camera, Messages, etc) all appear to make regular contact to ‘vas.samsungapps.com’, which resolves to AWS. So if you’re looking at a packet log on your router/firewall, you can’t pick the traffic out from the rest of the AWS stuff.
I’ve no idea what the connections are for, as they’re encrypted. You can’t remove nor disable the apps.”
“Bloomberg News recently reported that for years iPhone app developers have been allowed to store and sell data from users who allow access to their contact lists, which, in addition to phone numbers, may include other people’s photos and home addresses… The consumer control option gives developers access to everything you’ve stored about everyone you know, more than just their phone numbers, and without their permission. This is the kind of situation that landed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 10 hours of congressional testimony in April.”
Following a recent ban on the usage of that data, Apple still did very little, if anything at all, to ensure that it’s technically impossible for developers to use that (very sensitive) data. Why?
“Developers have made $100 billion in revenue in that time, even after Apple took its average 30 percent cut. Fortunes have been built on the personal data of Apple customers.” Sound like someone you trust?
How blockchain phones could make privacy concerns obsolete
The first generation of blockchain phones
SOLARIN, by Sirin Labs provides, substantially more security to your data by introducing a whole new principle of protection. Encrypted calls and messages alone sound exciting. Also, military-grade encryption technology KoolSpan and “Zimperium state-of-the-art mobile threat protection that thwarts the broadest array of advanced device, network, and application mobile cyber attacks.”
Using a slightly different approach, there is the HTC Exodus, a phone that uses Bitcoin’s architecture to allow you to be your own bank. Private keys aren’t owned by a third party and they work with Ethereum-decentralized applications. A native crypto wallet as part of the mobile Opera browser that can use Exodus One’s native hardware means the world’s first system that creates not just a few features but a completely protected environment.
And since the success of this system depends on the extent of its decentralization (remember, centralization means a central point of failure, which is really bad for your data’s safety), Telecoin’s TeleFone, which is even more decentralized, is the most enviable option of the three. Telecoin uses Obfuscation and SwiftTx with the help of MasterNodes and Proof-of-Stake to introduce some of the fastest and most secure blockchain-based infrastructures around. Its secure, decentralized mobile phone, Tele-Fone, allows users to store personal data/files and information directly on the blockchain. Why is that so important?
Why Tele-Fone is a more decentralized mobile phone than others
A decentralized mobile network based on the blockchain
Why is the decentralized way the only way? The Internet was invented to be decentralized, just like Bitcoin. Then, like all good concepts, it became tainted when it went mainstream and now there is centralization, which means massive threats to user data.
“A user will receive a decentralized ID issued by the DID sidechain. Data itself will not be stored on the blockchain, but instead, on a distributed file storage system (similar to Interplanetary File System – IPFS) that will be spread across thousands of servers, all of which are encrypted. When a user wants to access this data, the Elastos Carrier will retrieve the data without prior knowledge of where it is stored. This is decentralization at work.”
You’ve already learned from the example of Exodus One that an integrated wallet makes a huge difference. An integrated (built-in) hardware wallet means that private keys are stored on a chip, which is off-limits and cannot be accessed by hackers. The data is accessible only to you, as the wallet holds the private key that can sign transactions and the key doesn’t leave the hardware wallet. TeleFone’s integrated wallet means much greater security, which is very important in decentralized networks.
“Decentralized applications are very useful as they can be used to connect different people in marketplaces, sharing resources and storing them, maintaining cryptos as well as executing smart contracts without giving ownership to one central authority.”
When can we start using a blockchain-enabled phone?