More people than ever are using mobile phones to access the Internet. Over 92% of web users search the Internet on their smartphones, and more than 55% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices – a figure that was only 31% in 2015. With their portability, affordability and access to apps for everything from social media to banking, smartphones are the perfect tools for taking care of business or finishing personal tasks on the run.
The other side is that smartphones often contain large amounts of personal information, making them vulnerable to cybercriminals. Phishing scams, malware infections, ransomware and malicious apps are potential threats to smartphone users.
Mobile phone security is your weapon in the battle against these threats. It can take many forms, from the anti-virus software you use to your own personal safety practices. Most mobile phones come with certain built-in security features. Samsung Knox is Samsung’s built-in security system that protects passwords and other personal details, while Apple protects your iPhone for years after its release date with iOS security updates.
Today, many people are embracing second-hand phones (especially refurbished phones) for their affordability and the unlimited options you can find online. If you’ve been looking for the right second-hand smartphone, you may be wondering if buying used means compromising on mobile phone security.
In this article, we look at whether refurbished phones offer the same level of security as new devices. We also discuss the most secure phones out there (including the best mobile phone security for Android and iPhone) and where you can buy secure refurbished phones.
What Is Phone Security?
Mobile phone security is a broad term referring to the software, features and practices that protect the information your smartphone stores or sends.
While you’re most likely to consider the topic in relation to your own smartphone, mobile phone security can also be part of a broader digital security strategy in a business context.
Some of the most common forms mobile security can take include:
Security features: Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have security features built into hardware and software that receive ongoing updates. Apple devices using iOS have security features embedded into their very silicon and receive regular updates to iOS to deal with new threats. Samsung Knox is a defence-grade security platform businesses trust to prevent their information from leaking. Google Pixel phones also have security measures embedded into both their software and hardware to make sure your personal data remains private.
Virtual private networks (VPNs): A VPN creates a connection between your mobile Internet traffic and a remote server, encrypting your data and strengthening your privacy. While VPNs can’t completely hide your identity, they do make it harder for others to trace your steps.
Strong authentication methods: Mobile authentication methods require you to provide verification factors to access information on your mobile and sometimes to access your mobile itself. A common example is biometrics, which involves using your personal features like your fingerprint, face or voice as a form of authentication. Other commonly used methods include passwords (chosen or randomly generated) and two-factor authentication.
Data encryption software: No matter what kind of smartphone you have, there are data encryption programs and tools out there to help keep your personal information safe. Encryption programs work by turning your data into code that’s almost impossible to read without the right tools.
Mobile phone security comes in a few different forms, but why is it so important? And if you choose to go without it, what’s the most secure phone you can buy?
Why Is Phone Security Needed?
There are a lot of reasons why phone security is important and why you should invest in the best mobile phone security, whether you’re an Android or iPhone user.
Mobile phones are attractive devices to criminals. Here are some of the biggest reasons:
Mobile phones contain a lot of personal information
Smartphones are absolutely packed with information that the wrong sort of people can use to track you or steal your identity: e-mail addresses, passwords, messages and e-mails, financial information. Sometimes, all scammers need is your phone number, which they can then use to sell to other scammers.
Mobile phones are used for financial transactions
How often do you use your smartphone to move money around: Internet banking, online shopping, Apple Pay transactions? Whether it’s phishing scams, fake apps or online shops, scammers are always searching for a way to access your money.
Mobile phones are frequently used in public places
If you make a credit card transaction on a public Wi-Fi system, that provides savvy hackers with the opportunity to access your information.
Mobile phones are frequently unprotected
It’s easy to neglect installing phone security software and to leave your device open to criminals.
Apple and Samsung make some of the most secure phones on the market, with Samsung Knox up there with the best Android mobile phone security platforms. But what about refurbished phones? Does second-hand have to mean second rate as far as security goes?
To answer that question, it might help to take a closer look at what refurbished phones are and how they differ from regular used phones.
What Are Refurbished Phones?
When you buy a second-hand smartphone on the Internet through a private sale, you take your chances with the quality. The phone that gets delivered to you may work brilliantly, but if it doesn’t, you don’t usually get a warranty to cover your purchase.
Refurbished smartphones, on the other hand, have been professionally restored to a standard that’s very close to new. A professional, for example, a manufacturer or third-party seller, has tested the smartphone to make sure everything from the camera to the volume button to the touchscreen still works as it should. Refurbished devices come factory reset, so the previous owner’s data has been erased, and the seller has run background checks to make sure the phone isn’t someone’s lost or stolen property.
Buying refurbished saves you hundreds of dollars on a fully functioning, high-quality smartphone. But of course, even your favourite smartphone in the world won’t do you much good if it’s still overly vulnerable to scams and malware. Does the mobile phone security of refurbished smartphones measure up to new models?
A Refurbished Phone’s Security
The process of refurbishing a smartphone doesn’t compromise its security. Refurbished smartphones come with all the same safety measures as their new counterparts, so they retain any safety features that are embedded in the hardware. Refurbished phones also stay supported by software updates for the same length of time as new ones. For iPhones, that’s usually 5-6 years from the date of release and 2-4 years for Android. Often, it only takes a few months to a year for newer smartphones to end up on the refurbished market. So when you buy a relatively new refurb, you still have security support for a good few years.
Of course, not all refurbished phones are created equal, and neither are all sellers. To pick up a refurb with the best mobile phone security for Android or iPhone, you need to buy from a trustworthy seller.
Buy Refurbished Phones at OzMobiles
If you want the most secure refurbished phone money can buy, you’re in the right place.
OzMobiles makes sure every device we sell lives up to high Australian standards, including security standards. All of our devices are 100% fully functional and sold with 12-month warranties and 30-day money-back guarantees. In the rare case that you don’t get what you paid for, you can exchange or refund your purchase.
For more information about our secure refurbished phones and for help finding the right one, contact the OzMobiles team!