Smartphones have gone beyond the press the Unlock key and then * era. Smartphone lock and security is now very complicated and more secured.
Since our smartphones are more closer to us than ever and very portable, it’s really important that such devices have protective measures that will prevent access to personal data and even theft.
Well, if you fast forward to this present day, smartphone security has taken a giant leap and it’s even becoming better and more complicated.
If you have a smartphone that’s powered by Android, iOS or Windows Mobile, you must have already gotten used to some security tunnels.
Lets say you already know the usuals; PIN lock, Password lock, Face Lock etc, then you can feel really comfortable reading all through because we are all gonna learn something fresh.
Security is a very vital aspect of any system that’s meant to keep data no matter the priority or sensitivity of the data. If you love your data, you will keep it safe.
Well, today is not all about telling you how to protect your data, it’s just all about the various security walls or barriers now implemented in smartphones.
It’s time to learn more about smartphone security.
A Guide On Smartphone Locks/ Security: Mobile Security
A lock screen is a computer user interface element used by various operating systems. The security locks are intended to regulate access to a device by requiring that the user performs a certain action in order to receive full or partial access to the device.
Security locks prevent access and might request for a password to be entered, button combination, or performing a gesture on the device’s touchscreen.
Lock screens on mobile devices are a little more user-friendly with more functionality beyond unlocking the phone: such as notifications for Whatsapp or social network messages, emails and text messages, a date and time display, or shortcuts to certain applications.
While most lock functions on PC operating systems only utilize a login screen, lock screens on mobile devices often provide more with extra customizations.
Whether you are an Apple fanboy or Android lover, it doesn’t really matter here.
All we are here to do is to learn the different security measures implemented on smartphones and how they work.
Uhm, let’s kickstart with the very popular ones.
Below are the types of security locks/implementations on smartphones and tips to help you secure your device better.
Pattern lock is one of the oldest and most popular Android smartphone locks. A pattern lock is very secured especially when you make the unlocking process or pattern invisible.
A pattern lock only needs the user to draw a pattern on the screen using the nine dots on the lock screen. It’s a little bit hard to guess and so it’s a better security option for Android smartphones.
It’s also a good idea to reduce the wait time before the screen locks and also set your device to lock immediately you press the power button.
PIN lock is also one of the most used lock screen security on Android smartphones. It’s very simple to set up and can’t be forgotten easily like the pattern lock.
A PIN lock will require the user to use at least a four-digit number to lock and unlock the phone. The number of digits can be increased but it’s better to use mixed digits that are up to 6 and also hard to guess, even by your friends.
Face Lock, Face ID
In addition to the pattern and password locks already supported, Android 4.0 added a face unlock feature that uses the phone’s front-facing camera to look for a match.
It’s arguably more of a novelty than anything else since it can be defeated/tricked to recognize a picture of the individual who owns the phone.
Face Unlock has taken a new level with the likes of the advanced 3D Face ID unlock on the Apple iPhone X, XS, and the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE. Although Face Lock/Unlock was initially not really secured, with advancement in security, it’s now more secure, fast and reliable.
Although not all devices actually have this security feature, it works well on most OEMs who take the security of devices really serious.
The Fujitsu Arrows NX F-04G is the first smartphone to feature an Iris scanner for authentication.
Although some older mobile devices had used this security, it’s just a few smartphone brands like Samsung and some Chinese manufacturers that still use the Iris scanning security feature on Android smartphones.
The patterns in your irises are unique to you and are virtually impossible to replicate, meaning iris authentication is one of the safest ways to keep your phone locked and the contents private.
To use the Iris scanner to authenticate yourself, users will need to lift the phone to eyelevel at arm’s length and wait for the Iris scanner to capture the data.
Iris scanner on smartphones provides top-notch security that can not be compromised easily. But no matter how secured it is, a pattern or pin lock needs to be added to complement the security of the device.
Fingerprint Lock/Touch ID
The most popular security firewall on almost every Android smartphone in 2018 is the fingerprint unlock. It’s like a norm for every single Android smartphone to have a fingerprint scanner.
The first device to have a capacitive fingerprint sensor was the iPhone 5s and the first device to have under-screen fingerprint sensor is Vivo’s NEX device.
Fingerprint scanners are very secure and easy to use naturally, especially when fixed in a very convenient location.
A fingerprint lock only needs you to register one or more fingers on the device and use those fingers to authenticate and get access to the device.
Although it’s very secured, anyone who wants to use your device can get it unlocked if your matching finger is used.
You might be asking how is that possible?
What if you are sleeping and the phone’s fingerprint sensor is put on your hand? Well, my friends use this trick on me whenever I am fast asleep. Hope you secure your device with more security options.
Password protection on Android is the most recommended lock screen option on smartphones. With a password lock, you can use a combination of lower and uppercase letters and even add a mix of numbers.
It’s really secured and can’t be tricked unless you manually unlock your phone or someone who knows the password does it.
Most times, a password lock is what always keeps the intruders away. It limits the chances of your lock code being guessed and even scares intruders.
As it’s always recommended, a password lock is better or even more secured when combined with a fingerprint lock.
There’s also an unlock method on Android which allows you to connect to a Bluetooth device and save it as your trusted device. You can then connect to your trusted device and your phone can be unlocked.
No matter how convenient it may seem, it’s never safe.
If you know what encryption means, you will quickly understand how this works. On recent Android versions, it’s possible to encrypt your device with a password or PIN which will secure your whole device completely.
Once your device is restarted, you must enter the password or PIN to decrypt the device to enable the Android system to boot.
If you forget your passcode, unfortunately, you will need to perform a full factory reset to have access to your device again. Like other Android locks, you will either need to perform a factory reset or try to recover your email and password or remember the lock screen password.
Reactivation Lock: Samsung Account
For those of us who have been fans of Samsung devices, you already know that you can also have a Samsung account on your device alongside other accounts like Google, Yahoo etc
Once you set up your device and add a Samsung account to the device, your device is now linked to that Samsung ID.
Reactivation lock lets you use your Samsung account to prevent others from activating your device if it’s ever lost or stolen. With Reactivation lock turned on, you can completely prevent anyone from using/activating your Samsung smartphone or Gear S2 without your permission.
You can turn on Reactivation lock when connecting your Gear S2 to your mobile device or from the Samsung Gear settings on your mobile device.
EE lock is more of a network lock or barrier that prevents you from using your device on another service provider other than EE unless you unlock the device.
You can also easily unlock your device to use any other SIM card by contacting your service provider(EE) to request for an unlock.
FRP – Factory Reset Protection
FRP which simply means Factory Reset Protection is a security added to Android 5+ devices that protects an activated Android device with a signed in Google account from being used or activated after a factory reset via the recovery menu or fastboot.
FRP is extremely popular these days because of the increase in number of users on the newer or latest Android versions and the negative increase in smartphone theft.
Once your device is activated and you add your Google account to it properly, any factory reset on that device that wasn’t done directly via the settings menu(which should ask for your lock screen password), the device will ask for the previously used Google account before the device can be used again.
If you forget your Google account details, you will need to enter your Google account details or contact a professional for assistance in getting access to your phone.
Apart from using third-party apps, most Android smartphones have an inbuilt feature to enable you to lock all or individual apps with a password or PIN code or even with your fingerprint.
Once you try using the device, your secret code must be entered to allow you to gain access to the device. In the event of losing your code, you might have to perform a reset or reset your PIN depending on the options in your device.
This is Blackberry’s kinda Google FRP. Once your BB 10 device is set up and you add a Blackberry account, your device is now protected from any unauthorized use in case the device is wiped.
The Blackberry device will request for your Blackberry ID/account to be verified before anyone can reuse the device. Most times, trying to downgrade the firmware will be blocked to also prevent unauthorized activation or reuse of your locked/stolen device.
Xiaomi Mi Account Lock
Almost every serious smartphone manufacturer has the option to add their default account to the device. Like Blackberry Anti-theft and Google FRP, Xiaomi Mi devices also have an Mi account which has a very strong security benefit.
Coupled with their bootloader unlocking policy, an Mi account protection prevents unauthorized use of your device if it’s stolen or wiped abnormally. Once your Mi device is bound to an Mi account, you can completely control over it.
In case there’s an abnormal wipe, your device will be usable until the Mi account screen is properly taken care of. You can also perform remote actions on your device via your Mi account.
Microsoft Account Lock/Reset Protection
Almost every smartphone manufacturer is adding the latest trends to make their devices secured. Like Android, once you set up your Windows, sign in or add a Microsft account and accept the recommended settings, your device is now secured against unauthorized usage.
You will be given a Recovery key which you will need later in case you factory reset your device. Without this special recovery key, you won’t have access or be able to activate/use your Windows mobile device.
Although this works on only newer devices with build 8.10.15127.138 or later.
SIM lock may not be seen as a real smartphone security, it’s just a firewall from your service provider that prevents you from using another SIM card on that device unless you have it unlocked.
This happens when you get a contract phone from a service provider or buy a cheap phone online and didn’t bother to check how things go around there.
Well, like every other thing on this list, there’s always an easy way out. Find out or ask me in the comments section.
iCloud Lock/Activation Lock
Apple smartphones have one of the strongest and most reliable security ever. With their groundbreaking iCloud account/lock, you can always sleep knowing that your device is really safe.
Once you set up your iPhone, add an iCloud or sign in to an already existing one and then turn on Find my phone, you are now completely secured no matter what happens to that device.
iCloud locks are harder to bypass and almost impossible with recent OS security improvements and there are the most expensive to purchase.
The cost of unlocking scares away thieves and the possibility of easily tracking the phone makes everything really cool.
I love its security locks and tight OS.
So, I am rounding up here to get your feedback on how you feel about the security options and levels in your current smartphone.
I wish that very soon, no Android phone can be used or activated without the orginal Google account or device account being verified.
It’s already available now but it’s not really up to what Apple is doing. I understand that Android is open-source and it brings some bla bla bla…
But, security need to really step up too. We all don’t have to buy the most expensive or most secured phones in the world to enjoy complete mobile security.
Don’t just leave, join the convrsation okay!
We have seen the Iris Scanner on prominent phones being fooled, Fingerprint print scanners tricked as well as others.
Remember, almost all security locks can be tricked or bypassed, you have to make your device more secured by implementing more security layers or measures.
Other interesting contents to check out;