A cheap phone is very attractive to people who are poor and don’t have much money to spend. But according to new revelations, low-cost phones are privacy nightmares. Some of these cheap or low-cost phones are now seen as avenues for some people to take advantage of others.
Why it is Easy Target
Poor people who often can’t defend themselves have often fallen into the hands of those who manipulate them for selfish gains. So it is also when it comes to owners of cheap smartphones. The phones are often outdated when they are bought and so it means that at the time the user purchases these devices they are vulnerable to attacks. Since the operating system is no longer receiving any support and can’t be updated, the situation is hopeless. The apps inside the mobile phones can’t be updated or patched. If they can’t be removed because they were pre-installed, apps in these low-cost phones can present real danger.
For example, on a cheap smartphone that we won’t mention, the Facebook Lite app is pre-installed and as such can’t be removed. It gets default permission to track the user’s movements, upload his contacts, and read the phone calendar. When the app suffered a major privacy issue in early 2019 when hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users had their passwords exposed. Imagine that thousands of Facebook Lite app couldn’t delete the app from their smartphones or could do an upgrade to the operating system!
If the smartphone you are holding right now is Android 7 you can’t easily upgrade its firmware to Android 10, which is the latest Android that makes the most sense nowadays. Android 6 users for example got a message that says it has lost access and support to update the apps that were pre-installed inside the smartphone. We can’t blame them, due to hardware limitations.
What to Avoid
Most of the people who use these low-cost phones don’t have money to buy latest phones or buy broadband internet to make use of but they could desire to do what owners of flagship phones do – buy stuff over the internet using mobile devices to pay – but they could easily give their privacy in exchange of using low-cost smartphones.
True, these online payment methods through internet really makes life easy because one doesn’t have to stress by going out. However, plugging the outdated software or operating system over the internet is a big risk. It is hard to let go, since that low-cost mobile smartphone is the only means of connecting to the internet. To avoid trouble, anyone making use of these outdated Android smartphones should refrain from using them to make and receive payments.
Smartphones are quick to collect data about the user more than computers can and these information may include health data, real-time geological data that could often be sent to others via the internet.
For example, your Facebook may record the times you’ve been to a hotel, church or other places and it could show to your friends. Governments have been known to track people via the phones they use. If the settings on the phones can’t be turned off because the operating system is old, it presents real danger to the owner. This is not to talk about other vectors of attack that may come via Bluetooth or wireless connection points.
So, instead of clinging to that cheap phone, one may have to stop using it and look for smartphones that come with more security features and that can be accessed through the settings to turn them on or off.