|$799||KATIM™ OS||AES-256||See Review|
|~$600||Android 8.1||AES-256||See Review|
|$1000||Sailfish OS||AES-256||See Review|
|$600||Android 8.1 Oreo||AES-256||See Review|
Google Pixel 3
Cybercrime has generated above $1.5 trillion dollars in 2018 alone and companies have spent millions to avoid data leakage and compromising of their devices. Users have also been attacked quite a while and this trend is slowly moving towards mobile devices and smart devices, belonging to IoT (Internet of Things). This trend makes it vital to keep your information and finances safe. With the cloud coming into our daily lives, and with mobile devices being relied upon for e-banking and payments, it is essential to have a device that you can trust.
In this review, we have selected the most secure smartphones which will be used in 2019, but since there are different smartphones for a wide variety of purposes (cryptocurrencies, communication, safe apps, payments, etc.), you should first ask yourself several questions to help you establish the level of security according to your needs:
- What types of security-sensitive activities are you going to be using your smartphone for?
- Are you going to be using the smartphone only for private communications over the web?
- Are you going to use a SIM card that belongs to a carrier tracking online data and other information?
- Are the apps you use going to require you to share revealing permissions?
- Do you believe in biometric security?
- Is your smartphone going to be used with a higher focus on privacy or on anti-malware security?
What Types of Mobile Threats Are Out There?
In the volatile and dynamic days of the 21st century, we are constantly fighting against millions of cyber threats on a daily basis. With dark net markets that connect crooks, now it is way easier to hack a smartphone. This dynamic environment has formed several types of threats that attack smartphones:
- Privacy-invasive apps, that collect sensitive data from your smartphone.
- Trojans, that directly steal files and passwords.
Mobile Ransomware viruses.
- Invasive Adware apps, that also obtain information on what you tap on and can take control of your camera and other hardware.
- Big conglomerates and companies and government agencies that have invasive privacy policies and use them to track absolutely everything you do all the time “for research purposes”.
How to Choose the Right Smartphone for You?
There are different smartphones that provide different levels of security at different prices, so there are several categories to pay attention to before you actually buy a phone:
- Your budget.
- Your security requirements.
- How comfortable you feel using a certain mobile OS.
- Which apps you need to use.
- What specs will suite you.
Based on those, you can choose among the smartphones which are reviewed in detail underneath.
Created by DarkMatter, the company who advertised this smartphone in it’s early prototype stages back in2017, the KATIM phone has been in development and testing for over 2 years time and has the best security technologies you can have on a phone to date. According to DarkMatter, it has become quite clear that threats are rapidly expanding and a secure phone that is made by none other than cybersecurity professionals can help repel prying eyes. This is why DarkMatter has made a phone that will allow you to have self-destructing messages and even self-destruction of the device itself if tampered with. When we reviewed this phone, we were stunned by the sheer amount of security technologies it is packed with to secure your communications as well as internet usage, guaranteeing it the first spot as a newcomer in our 2019 security comparison.
KATIM’s smartphone has a Precision machined 7000 series aluminium housing and features a Carbide Gray colour. The device is 74.6 mm wide and 151.2 mm long with a 8.5mm thickness and is ran by KATIM™ OS, a hardened version of Android. The display of the phone is 5.2 inch IPS LCD with capacitative touch screen and 16m colors. The device has Corning® Gorilla® glass 5 with diamond-like carbon, also known as DLC. KATIM’s shooter is a 12 MP main camera with 6-lens structure and a Dual-Led dual-colour flash. For it’s front shooter, you will get a 5 MP front camera, which is quite decent for a secure smartphone. The connectivity protocols are all standards of 802.11 Wi-Fi plus the MU-MIMO protocol. The memory of the KATIM phone is 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a 64GB UFS 2.0 storage. It has external memory card support for it’s crypto card, which is ran on the microSD technology. The phone has an ok battery for it’s price, meaning that with average usage, the 3800mAh li-ion accumulator can last you up to two and even three days, and when it runs out, you have the power of the Qualcomm® Quick Charge™. If you have Buttons and Connectors fetish, the KATIM phone can help satisfy it, having a combined lock and power button, capacitative Home button with a built-in fingerprint sensor, a shield mode switch, that automatically shields the device from prying eyes, capacitative buttons for Back and Recent apps, and a 3.5 mm audio connector. What surprised us is that this phone is quite rugged as well, with an IP67 certification, making it waterproof and dust-proof, but do not go ahead and throw the phone in walls and do not try running it over with your car.
To guarantee the privacy of it’s users, DarkMatter has tested a new type of technology, calling it SHIELD MODE™. It’s main goal is to secure top secret meetings and it works together with the device’s LOCKED MODE, which disables Microphones, Camera, motion sensors and Bluetooth to enable you to have a piece of mind. Another interesting feature that is added towards privacy are the Secure Boot with protected bootloader, which is a must for security smartphones. In addition to this, the Device has encrypted storage for keys, that further boost eavesdropping protection by encrypting all data on the smartphone, even the IN and OUT data. But this is by far not all, since the device has remote management as well, which allows you to monitor it, provision it, audit the device, de-activate it from distance, wipe it, lock it and white and blacklist apps which you do not want running in order to allow you to retain full control of this device. To keep you private, KATIM has also set their mission to educate you and train you on how to use your phone, not just hand it to you and expect you to know everything. They also offer an optional service to operate your KATIM phone from a Dark Matter Command Center in order to keep it’s privacy top-notch all the time, without you having to waste your time worrying for it.
Besides platform integrity, DarkMatter have also set up Two-Factor user authentication using an advanced secure fingerprint verification. And to boost the security from smartphone spyware, they have added End-to-End encryption that encrypts transit data as well as fixated data on the device. The encryption continues with the adding of security certificates that are unique for the specific KATIM device and they authorise only the device to boot-up and operate the policies and software by trusting only the authorised root with this certificate. These roots are not on the smartphone as they are given to you or a secured Crypto Card which is bound to your smartphone platform. This crypto card can be removed from the device and when this happens, it makes the device unusable. This is the core competence that makes the KATIM smartphone the best in terms of security in our informed opinion.
Furthermore, to additionally boost the security of your Smartphone, KATIM has a Multilevel Tamper Protection and Intrusion Detection , which guarantees that no break-ins happen on your smartphone. KATIM has also made several private applications that allow KATIM devices to securely communicate – it’s own messenger for voice, video and chat, it’s own Engage™ app for sharing content and it’s private E-mail service for encrypted e-mail communication to even external e-mails. And all of this for the price of around $800 makes us say “Good job, KATIM”.
Our2018 winner, the BlackPhone 2 is one of most well-known security smartphones that are extremely suitable for business users. Having multiple security layers, the Blackphone 2 is the type of device that Is completely capable of running multiple operating systems and has already gathered several awards for it’s security-oriented design.
Blackphone 2’s Specs
The Blackphone 2 is powered by an 8-core processor, with a 1.7 GHz clock speed. The device has a 3060 mAh battery that cannot be removed and has only 1 SIM card slot. The Blackphone 2 has a 3 GB of RAM storage and a 32 GB of internal storage. The device also features a larger than KATIM 5.5 inch display, running at 1080×1920 resolution. The camera of the Blackphone is better than it’s first variant and is currently 13MP with it’s front shooter being 5MP. Blackphone is currently worth around $600 dollars and the device is a tad more expensive in Europe.
Blackphone 2’s Privacy
When it comes down to how safe your important data is, the Blackphone 2 has got you covered, you can rest assured. The device has a hardened Android, called Silent OS or PrivatOS and it is made from the ground up to be privacy-oriented by design. This Android-based OS has several privacy features, the main of which aims to encrypt each single text message and communication app. The privacy feature also encrypts e-mails, calls and other transfer data, making it almost impossible to trace any data back to the user. In addition to this, it allows the users to make a decision what to allow to be gathered from their phone as an information.
The OS of Blackphone 2 is made in order to be secured by design. It has pre-loading of applications directly embedded in it, meaning that the software has the capability of running apps in an isolated environment, enabling you to use the app before it actually started to obtain data, so you remain in control of your information at all times.
Furthermore, SilentOS also has a built-in technology, referred to as Spaces. It allows for a virtual type of environments which can be created separately from each other and work in a divided manner, so you can still use your Social Media and important sites on one Space while you access websites with low reputation on the other Space without them having to do nothing with each other. You can also use a separate Space for your files, where you can save photos, important documents and other data, which can remain on this Virtual OS. This way, if one Space is compromised, there is no possible way to compromise the other one, although compromising a Blackphone may not be something that can be done at all, except if you have all the passwords and access codes to the device, since it is encrypted.
Furthermore, the company also has extended support, promising a 72 hour deadline to patch absolutely any form of vulnerability, which can compromise your device. And they have an outstanding reputation of being extremely tech savvy in terms of networking and cyber-security, so they can act quick to solve any issues that might occur very fast.
Naturally, being in the security smartphone market, one thing should be realised – the competition is huge and there are always companies who are trying to diversify their product and make it oriented towards specifically targeted customer segment. The Sirin Solarin Smartphone is exactly such device. It aims to target people who are willing to spend thousands on a highly secure smartphone that is exquisite. Sirin Solarin is here to answer this specific demand, costing just above $16,000 USD and if you are not willing to give that much for a security smartphone, just skip reading this review.
Sirin Solarin’s Specs
The Sirin Solarin smartphone is powered by 8-core processor with an average clock of 2 GHz per core. The device is powered by a 4040 mAh Li-Ion battery and has 4 gigabytes of RAM. For it’s internal storage, Sirin Solarin has added 128 gigabytes of space, where you can store images taken with the 24 MP back shooter at 4K quality. The front selfie camera is 8 MP and it makes outstanding photos as a camera from a phone, costing that much should. The display of the Sirin is a 5.5 inch display, running at 2560×1440 resolution and feels bright and smooth when used. In fact, the phone is so smooth that it got hollywood actors Tom Hardy and Leo DiCaprio’s attention and the actors reportedly got Solarins for themselves as well:
All the gossip aside, the Sirin Solarin is a high-end luxury device for the people who can afford it. The device is long 159.8 mm and is a 11.1 mm thick, which is a bit too much than most of the phones today. And while this makes it a bit difficult to navigate in the menus, the phone also weighs a bit more too at 243 grams. The device is powered by Snapdragon 810 which was supposedly taken down from Samsung’s devices due to overheating. The materials of the phone are as premium as they can get and the device feels very premium in the hand.
Sirin Solarin’s Privacy
The privacy features of Sirin Solarin are focused on providing custom and active protection to each Sirin Solarin device. The phone has something that is known as Security Shield. This service is prpvided by the company KoolSpan and it is the technology that guarantees you the following:
- Private VoIP (Voice over IP) phone calls.
- Sending messages that are AES-256 encyrpted.
- FIPS140-2 encryption on communication.
The encryption used in the Sirin Solarin is extremely sophisticated and difficult to break as it is also used by governments to lock “eyes only” types of files and all of this is at your disposal each time you send a text message. This mode can also be activated and deactivated with a simple switch on the back of the phone – simple as well as secure.
Furthermore, to boost private communications, the phone has software that is part of a contract with Protonmail who are pioneers in encrypting e-mail communications. This basically means that each time you go in your personal e-mail, you get one password to login into the e-mail and one password to decrypt your Inbox, meaning that even if someone knows your original password, they still end up locked out of the service itself and that is if they get their hands on the smartphone, which is highly unlikely in the first place.
Sirin Solarin’s Security
So besides the original security features and encryption that come in many security smartphones, you also get something, called Zimperium, which is basically a private army of specialists who provide the following services for you 24/7:
- Detecting threats and immediately handling them via security administrator personnel.
- Detecting unknown threats by using a very sophisticated threat intelligence.
These teams of security administrators always work around the clock to not only update your device in real-time, but to also shield it each time an attack takes place. They use mechanisms for detection that will likely alert these teams each time someone tries to perform some type of cyber-attack and they can work to make the impenetrable Sirin Solarin even more impenetrable. So by paying this much, you guarantee yourself a long-term service, kind of like “cyber-bodyguards” that repel unwanted visitors. So while this phone is indeed amazing in terms of security and technology, it’s price is the reason why it is on this position on our list, regardless of the fact that if you have the money and the will, this is the phone you should go for.
Called by Sirin “The First Blockchain Smartphone”, this unique $1000 device is set out to be specifically for the Blockchain user. That having said, it also has the sufficient features to turn it into a very good smartphone for daily usage with high-end security, provided by the company behind Solarin. So you get a very good product that is sort of a mix between a Blockchain wallet and an exquisite piece of technology that is their newest invention that can be ordered in 2019.
Sirin FINNEY™’s Specs
The FINNEY™ phone has an outstanding 18:9 ratio display that is 6” in size. The display is Notch Design as they call it and it features smooth and crisp experience. The front camera of the FINNEY™ phone is 8 MPX and you can take selfies without worrying for quality problems. The main shooter of the phone is 12 MP and you can take photos and store them in the 128 GB system storage of the FINNEY™ phone. And if that is not enough, you also get to have an SD memory card slot to expan your space.
The FINNEY™ phone also has something known as multitouch safe screen that is 2 inches in size. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 845 SoC processor, which runs together with the more than enough 6 GB of RAM.
Sirin FINNEY™’s Privacy
For privacy, you have the power of SIRINOS™, that has a lot of built in applications that are extremely privacy oriented, like the VoIP (voice over IP), text and e-mail communications being encrypted, just like with Sirin Solarin and also a Three-Factor authentication, that includes the following privacy locking mechanisms:
- Lock Pattern.
- Behavioural Lock.
The last feature, called Behavioural based Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is created to increase the security based on identifying abnormal behaviour on your phone.
In addition to this, with the SIRINOS™ you also get your cryptocurrency and blockchain features, such as Built-in cold storage wallet, dCENTER (decentralized app center) and a private Token Conversion Service.
Created by a company with tradition in mechanical keyboards, security and well-built devices, the BlackBerry Key2 is the type of phone which can impress security experts with ease. The device is an update version from it’s predecessor – KEYone, which it is set to replace. The new device is slightly thinner, smaller and narrower than the old one, but it is a secure as they come. BlackBerry Key2 comes standard with an Android 8.1 and also has Google Assistant. Aside from the usual Android, however, the device has several apps which are installed by BlackBerry and they are focused on securing different aspects of the phone.
BlackBerry KEY2’s Specs
The Android 8.1 Oreo is the standard operating system and it runs smooth on a 4.5-inch 1620×1080 IPS LCD display with a rather unique 3:2 aspect ratio. The reason for that is the mechanical keyboard, which is the main idea why you would get a BlackBerry as your secured phone over another device. Futhermore, the smaller display allows for a longer battery life of the 3500 mAh non-removable battery the device has. When it comes down to the power of the KEY2, you are covered with one of the best CPUs in the business – Snapdragon 660, that is Octa-Core and clocked at 2.2 GHz on it’s first 4 cores and on 1.8 GHz on it’s other 2 cores. The graphics processor of the BlackBerry is Adreno 512 GPU. For the storage, you have two 64 GB versions and one 128 GB version that is available only in black colour. The device can expand storage up to 256GB however, so we would suggest that you go for the cheaper 64 GB version that has more colour choices available as well. The Dual Camera, that is dual 12 MP shooters also has dual tone LED flashes, supports HDR and 4K video recording at 30 FPS and has Scanning and Private Capture features – quite an impressive device. For the front camera, you have 8MP Fixed Focus and a flash for selfies with a 1080p video as well. For the connectivity, you have a wide range of technologies, such as OTG, USB-C, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Beidou, Galileo, OTDOA, and even an FM Radio. The dimensions of the Blackberry KEY2 are 151.4mm by 71.8 mm and it is only 8.5 mm thick.
BlackBerry KEY2’s Privacy
To address Privacy concerns, BlackBerry have added Firefox Focus, which is Mozilla’s privacy browser that blocks trackers and deletes the browsing session of users after they have used their browser. In addition to this, like most BlackBerry devices, the KEY2 also has the latest DTEK version, which is BlackBerry’s security toolbox to keep the device safe. DTEK essentially lets users see in real time which apps are using what features on their BlackBerry to access their private information. Some apps might access certain device technologies, like camera, microphone and other features to work properly, but other apps might access features that do not require them to work at all, meaning that they are privacy invasive. DTEK makes sure to monitor those apps each time they use your features, so DTEK monitors apps when they:
- Take a picture or record a video.
- Access your calendar.
- Read, create, edit and delete a contact.
- Send a text message or an MMS from your phone.
- Turn the microphone on or off.
- Access your contacts.
Furthermore, with DTEK, you can also set the app to be stepped from running and un install it or to set up notification on each app you want to keep an eye on. This is particularly useful for users who are very social, use a lot of apps, but also want to stay safe.
BlackBerry Key2’s Security
When it comes to security, DTEK also has it covered. The app evaluates your security technologies in order to report your security level to you and advise you where you can improve. It monitors screen locking, factory reset defences, remote device security and most of the security related features in general. Based on that you receive either poor, average or good security rating with recommendations on how you can improve your settings. This is very good for users who are not experts on security, but want to learn “on the go”, since the deivce not only adjust the security for you, but also shows you what you can change to better your security behavior. Quite smart. Generally, DTEK presents three security levels for the user:
Good – your device are at low security risk.
Fair – your device have a medium security risk. Tap the warning icon to improve.
Bad – Your device is at a high security risk – tap the warning to learn how to improve.
The UnaPhone Zenith is the type of device which is not just your average startup company. It has the backing of the tech giant LG, that stands behind the production of these devices. The phone runs a specifically hardened Android 6.0, known to be a bit older but extremely low on bugs. The OS is known as UnaOS. It turns the otherwise regularly looking slim phone into a security beast, by providing advanced security features and in the same time offering accessibility by providing dual-sim connectivity and in addition to it also has advanced network connectivity, making it ideal, if you are an IT professional, who wants something way more secure than your average smartphone.
UnaPhone Zenith’s Specs
The UnaPhone Zenith features a rather ordinary, but a beautiful and slick design that has a 5.5 inch display with a 1080×1920 LTPS OGS screen and a narrow side bezel that is 1.6mm. The Double Color Flash takes images in combination with a powerful 13 MP Sony IMX Camera at the rear. For the front camera, a shooter of 8MP is chosen. The device also has a USB-C type of connectivity and is powered by a 3000 mAh Li-Pol battery. For the performance of the UnaPhone, a powerful 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU is set, which works decently in combination with the 4GB or RAM that device has. For storage, you have a 32Gb available and all of this plus quick charging is available at one of the lowest prices on this list, so if you are in the market for a mid-range device with high grade of security, keep reading.
UnaPhone Zenith’s Privacy
As far as Privacy goes, the UnaPhone delivers updates via an encrypted OTA channel and in addition to this, the phone comes with pre-installed apps for almost everything you would require from the device. This is achieved by ripping out all of the Google apps and services, so that you cannot be tracked and your data cannot be sold. Furthermore, the device features strong encrypted, a custom secure boot feature and several device protection mechanisms that wipe the device if someone tries to tamper with them. The bad news here is that this phone does not really allow you to install any Facebook, Twitter or as a matter of fact any other app. Furthermore, UnaPhone also embeds several security functions, like biometric security and a Black Screen Wake Up function. You also have an AppLock which uses your fingerprint in order to unlock the apps you want to yous. And not only this, but the OS also has several important features that prevent any data leaks plus crypto mining. In combination, these features allow for better privacy and they can stop any attacks and hijacking attempts, resulting in increase security.
Another strong privacy feature of this phone are the implementations made to restrict connection to suspicious IP addresses when you browse the web. And not only addresses with low reputation, but addresses, related to DoD are also banned by default from the UnaPhone Zenith, meaning that you are also protected from the government to some extent.
UnaPhone Zenith’s Security
The security of the UnaOS is very strict. In fact, it is so strict that it has a downside – you cannot add any Google Apps from the PlayStore, since all relations to google are removed, which can be forgiven, given that security is important. Furthermore, the UnaOS™ also does not have any tradition Android device technologies, since they have concluded that some of the Android perks are an area that is desirable to crooks in order to apply their exploits to conduct attacks. In addition to this, if new vulnerabilities appear, like FakeID, Certify-gate, installer hijacking, Stagefright and Master Key, the company aims to patch them rapidly so that the device is secure before an attack occurs. They also look for vulnerabilities that are not so popular with the goal to patch them as well. And not only this, but also the custom OS of the UnaPhone Zenith is also configured in a way that prevents privelege escalation that is done by third-party applications and also malware intrusion. And the phone also prevents third-party apps to be installed as well, since they can not be enabled.
The Turing phone is not a cheap device, but it has remained to be among the best security-oriented smartphones we have ever seen. It has several features that provide it to deliver security that is very difficult to match by it’s competition, even though the phone is becoming a bit outdated.
Turing Phone’s Specs
Turing phone can communicate via a single Micro SIM card and it delivers performance with a powerful 2.5 GHz quad core CPU, which is enough for most people. The device has a 3 GB RAM and it can last you up to two days with an average use with it’s 3000 mAh battery. The OS powering it is called Sailfish OS and is a completely custom OS that runs smooth on a 1080×1920 resolution. For storage, you are a bit limited with only 16 GB, but the phone compensates with it’s 8MP front camera and 13 MP rear camera as well. Not what we have hoped for a price of around a thousand bucks, but the phone is security-oriented after all, so we can easily forgive it and proceed to explain about the awesome security features this device has hidden in store for you.
Turing Phone’s Privacy
Created by Turing Robotic Industries, the brave device started out with a modified Android, but they did not believe that the phone was secure enough. So they have went ahead and improved their security with the Sailfish OS. It originates from a Finnish tech company, called Jolla. The phone uses a MicroSIM and it can establish connection via GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G technologies securely without lagging. The Turing phone has also been made in order to be focused primarily in protecting information that is stored in the device from any possible cyber-attacks that may occur. This is where their custom Sailfish OS comes in. It is Unix-based and it takes it’s roots from Linux, but the OS is also combined with something known as Mer core stack. This makes the smartphone secure by design, since this is also the sole principle of Linux as an operating systme as well. And since the company aims to have long-term customers, they have focused in creating their devices to be rugged, but also light. Furthermore, for privacy they have also chosen their own custom connector, which significantly reduces chances of the device being hacked even if you have physical access, since all of the connections pass through this port.
Turing Phone’s Security
In terms of security, the phone has Sailfish OS on it’s side – it is Linux-based and the operating system also relies on gestures instead of buttons which is a unique approach in terms of security. Furthermore, the UI of the phone is closed source and cannot be easily accessed so that coders can learn it, whereas the Sailfish OS itself is an open-source one, making it available for programmers to find bugs and fix them. Another security feature is that you can use your Turing phone for porting as well, since you can achieve porting via a virtual drive with the help of which, you can implement the SKD of Sailfish OS and conduct porting activities. This SKD and the software for porting can be installed on a range of third-party devices which means that business users are the ideal customers for this device.
Being the flagship of the company number 1 in terms of global smartphone sales, the Galaxy S9 is sure to not disappoint when it comes to security, because it has quite the high expectations to meet. The phone is the main focus of support by Samsung and the corporation aims to always update it with the latest software for it’s Android variant.
Samsung Galaxy S9’s Specs and Features
Probably the most notable feature of the Galaxy S9 is it’s display, which is a Bezel-Less 5.8 inches screen with an ~83.6% screen to body ratio. The screen has 1440×2960 pixels resolution with a 570 ppi density and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It also has 3D touch function for it’s home button and an HDR10 technology, plus a function that keeps the display on all the time.
Since it’s a flagship, Samsung have put the 10 nm Exynos 9810 octa core processor to power it in combination with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, and both are available as variants. The CPUs are both octa-core with respectively 4×2.7 GHz Mongoose M3 versus 4×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 Gold and 4×1,8 GHz Cortex-A55 versus 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver. The Qualcomm Snapdragon is mostly used when the device is sold in USA and Latin America countries as well as in China and the Exynos processor is available for the rest of the world. Same goes with the Mali-g72 graphics chip (rest of the world) and the Adreno 630 chip (USA/China/Latin Americas).
In addition to this, the smartphone has storage up to 256 GB which can also be expanded with a MicroSD memory card with up to 512 GB space for the dual SIM model. The RAM of the phone is 4 GB and the camera is an auto-HDR 12 MP front shoter that is capable of shooting panorama and slow motion videos. The front camera is 8MP in total and it can perform dual video call at 1440p and 30fps which is enough for most people.
Samsung Galaxy S9’s Privacy
When we talk about the privacy of the S9, the first thing that springs to mind is the Knox technology implemented by Samsung that offers security and a chip-level which reinforces several protection layers of your S9. This works on both hardware and software levels and strives to ensure that privacy is guaranteed via virtualization zones, also referred to as TrustZones. So you can choose a separate virtual drive (TrustZone) for the different levels of activities you do. This will allow you to separate the privacy invasive apps which you trust less with the actually important ones and still be able to use the S9 to it’s full extent.
Samsung Galaxy S9’s Security
The Galaxy S9 is secured by the IRIS scanning feature, which recognises your Iris to unlock your device. This unique approach to biometric security strongly decreases the chance of someone being able to unlock your device, even if they have a picture of your eye from close by, since the phone has been heavily tested to be able to differentiate an actual eye from a simple image of an eye. In addition to this, the phone is very advanced when we talk about the choice it offers to users, when security is involved. Samsung will quickly patch any security flaw that they encounter as it happened with the Iris scanner that was previously tricked by hackers to unlock the phone via contact lenses and a photo. They have quickly answered with a new update that makes the Iris scanner significantly more advanced and harder to be tricked, since it follows a unique pattern of the iris that seems as if it is a unique key only for the user’s phone.
Samsung have also done a lot of research when it comes to using your phone to pay for stuff. They have made it so that you can have sophisticated and advanced encryption plus they have added many locking and security features that lock files and data on the device at hand. In addition to this, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is the type of smartphone that is one of the few which have a Secure Folder feature, that grants access only to the user who has the access key for it:
It is time to address the elephant in the room – the newest iPhone. With it’s latest budget variant, the iPhone XS proves that Apple is the type of company that strongly believes in privacy. They have not gotten in court with the FBI because of nothing, after all. And when we consider the always up to day iOS, which can run to it’s newest version even on older iPhones, Apple is one the brands that has the best overall support of their complete range of phones, which does make them a very security-oriented company. And since the iPhone is the most famous phone in the world, they have offered very big bug bounty rewards for those who find bugs and can break into their phone. And even though some israeli companies have successfully managed to unlock an iPhone, Apple is constantly changing encryption and other security protocols and constantly adding new unlock features, like the extremely advanced Face Unlock technology.
iPhone XS’s Specs
iPhone XS is a pioneer in the half-bezel less design with a 5.8” screen that has 1125×2436 pixels resolution and is able to achieve ~82.9 screen-to-body ratio. The 177g XS is long 143.6 mm and is wide 70.9 mm with a 7.7 mm thickness. Probably the best about it is that the phone is IP68 certified, with a dust and water resistance of up to 2 metres for up to 30 minutes time. The display of the iPhoneXS is a Super AMOLED capacitative touchscreen display that features the latest technologies and has 16M colors. The glass in front of it has oleophobic coating and is also scratch-resistant.
The iPhone XS is running iOS 12, which can easily be upgraded to iOS 12.1. The OS is running smooth on the 6-core Apple A12 bionic processor that is 7 nm. The CPU is what apple calls the first Bionic chip and it is running 2×2.5 GHz Vortex cores plus 4×1.6 GHz Tempest cores with an added Apple GPU that has 4-core graphics. For storage, you are ensured with three versions based on your requirements – 64, 256 and 512 GB of space. Furthermore, contributing to the iPhone is the 4 GB of RAM memory that is configured to run apps in a preloaded memory so that you do not experience any slowness while starting a chosen application.
Probably the most impressive feature of the iPhone is the device’s camera, which has been created in a very specific way, that enables a dual 12 MP shooters which have slow motion recording and can shoot 4k videos. The front selfie camera is an optimized HDR 7MP camera that is able to record 1080p video at 60 frames per second.
iPhone XS’s Privacy
If you have an iPhone and it is locked, you can rest assured that as long as nobody knows your Apple device’s password, your privacy is guaranteed. The IOS software has a very advanced sandboxing feature that is built from the ground up to be secure by design. It includes sandbox encryption, which isolates each app and allows you to run an app while preventing it from taking advantage over some permissions you do not want it to track. And even if the app is compromised or malicious, it cannot compromise the iPhone XS itself, because the virus cannot run in an offline manner. So it is all levelled down to the permissions apps request from users. So you are in control of what apps want from you.
iPhone XS’s Security
When it comes down to the security of the XS, you have an advanced Facial recognition feature, that according to Apple has been tested with millions of Faces and has been proven to work. The device also has one of the best support out there regarding security, since Apple has offered jobs to a lot of crackers to try and break the device and look for vulnerabilities. And since the software of the XS is the same as it is with the X and older iPhone models, you get the same security patch for the complete range of supported iPhone, so even if you go with an older and cheaper model, you will still be extremely secure, although only the newer devices have the Face Unlock feature.
In addition to these features and the active support, Apple have also made it possible so that you as a user can choose between which security features of the iPhone XS you wish to use. Not only this, but you can also choose among the encryption tools that provide full encryption for aspects of the iPhone and also encryption of the messaging services done via iMessages. And on top of that, the IOS is very easy and intuitive to use, making it the perfect choice for most non-tech-savvy users who want a good phone that is on a competitive price, unlike it’s predecessor and more powerful X, which was way too expensive. And if you want security to a paranoid level, you can also opt-in for the more expensive K iPhone modification, which is a custom and specifically designed version of the iPhone that costs about $5000 USD, but is secured bt KryptAll®, who have been designign security modifications of iPhones for quite some time now.
Google Pixel 3’s Security
The company has come up with multiple security features of the Pixel 3, primarily related to the latest Android OS – the Oreo. Google has implemented what many refer to as a FBE – file-based encryption. It is not known what type of algorithm is used, but the working of this encryption is very similar to the RSA cipher which generates a unique key. The same way this works is with the files used by the Google Pixel device. These files are encoded with different key for unlocking, corresponding for the specific file. The company has also combined security with convenience, meaning that they have inserted different features of the phone that are often used, like alarms, phone calls and other that can be accessed much faster, despite encryption.
Other security features of the Oreo version of Android include the direct boot feature of the phone and as mentioned, the much stronger encryption. A relatively new thing for the Android OS’s is the verified boot security extra that can stop any corrupted devices from booting at all. This may make it a bit more difficult to root though.
Also, the support of the Pixel has been made to be quite responsive, primarily because the company has implemented new technology regarding bug fixing. Imagine you are using your Google Pixel phone and a bug happens. Now, you do not have to send the bug information, but the Google support team receive the bug data and the bug data only, as soon as you get internet connection on the device. Instead of having to send manually bug info, or being requested to send info, now the process is handled automatically and discretely. And the whole process is privacy oriented, meaning that only the bug information is extracted and nothing else from your phone.
Google Pixel 3’s Privacy
Regarding privacy, Google has taken good care of this device. It gives complete oversight on any type of permissions that are requested by different apps. The apps are also restricted to make any form of modifications on the device, even if they have some sort of permissions. In addition to this, the company has focused on reducing the amount of data which the device gives away when used by different apps. We believe that this feature is very useful, because there were many reports of malicious apps that were even using malware to obtain permissions and hence different tracking information.
Furthermore, regarding hiding you, the new operating system also features a built-in VPN service which is very suitable for business users, a segment targeted by the previously mentioned BlackBerry device. Good thinking, Google!
Legal Disclaimer: Be advised that the opinions expressed on this website are solely ours and they are not biased towards any specific software company or any other organization. The opinions are also based on our research, which includes first-hand data as well as second-hand information and it took place approximately 30 days before this article was published.
Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.