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Smartphone security development over the last decade

In the last decade, we have seen many developments and advancements in the technological world and one of the major path breakers is the smartphone. This unique mobile device combines cellular and computing functions into one unit and, thus, is the ultimate gadget of every other individual in the world. Smartphones typically contain a number of metal–oxide– semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuit (IC) chips, including various sensors that can be leveraged by their software (such as a magnetometer, proximity sensors, barometer, gyroscope, or accelerometer), and support wireless communications protocols (such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or satellite navigation).


Source: The New York Times

This rarely needs an introduction that this smartphone device has better hardware capabilities and an extensive mobile operating system, which facilitates wider software, internet (including web browsing over mobile broadband), and multimedia functionality (including music, video, cameras, and gaming), alongside core phone functions such as voice calls and text messaging.

We now rely on smartphones for the majority of our daily activities, from attending classes to meetings to business deals, to taking pictures of your favorite things to ordering your favorite food to clothes .We can hardly think about a time without this luring device. So, as our lives are becoming dependent on these smart phones, their security is a major concern for us. Most premium companies are working to improve their security to the maximum level. From pattern and passwords to biometric locks, we have come a long way over the years. So let's look back to the past decade and learn about these more.


The most common and the oldest security is password and pattern, but the most common problem with using a password or pattern is that anyone can steal our passcode easily. A survey of billions of mobile users worldwide was conducted in 2017, and the results revealed a shocking as well as an amusing reality: more than 40% of mobile users use the word "password" or their own name or mobile number as an unlock password. Most companies have started testing some other convenient ways, as face unlock, biometric unlock, body contact unlock system, etc. to improve security.


Face Recognition System


Source- ReadWrite

In 2011, the Android 4 OS launched the first operating system supporting the face recognition system, but this first-generation technology was not very convenient since anyone could unlock the phones by citing our photos. So gradually, smartphone companies started improving it and we got infrared, 3d, eye opens recognition systems. Though Samsung was the first to launch face recognition, Apple launched a much better and advanced technology in March 2017 with its iPhone X series.

The iPhone x Face ID: This facial recognition system was designed and developed by Apple Inc. for its iPhone (X, XS, XS Max, XR, 11,11Pro, 11Pro Max,12Min,12, 12 Pro,12 Pro Max). This system allows biometric authentication for unlocking the device, thus securing making payments, accessing sensitive data, as well as providing detailed facial expression tracking for Animoji and other features. It has been updated and introduced to several new iPhone models and all iPad Pro models.


The Face ID hardware consists of a sensor with three modules: a dot projector that projects a grid of small infrared dots onto a user's face, a module called the flood illuminator that shines infrared light at the face, and an infrared camera that takes an infrared picture of the user, reads the resulting pattern and generates a 3D facial map. This map is compared with the registered face using a secure subsystem, and the user is authenticated if the two faces match sufficiently. The system can recognize faces with glasses, clothing, makeup, and facial hair, and adapts to changes in appearance over time.

Even with these advanced sensors, the security of face recognition is still being debated because this technology fails to distinguish between identical twins, and, in some cases, poor lighting as well as a face mask can be a barrier for these sensors.

Considering the current situation with Covid-19, this facial recognition system is failing badly in comparison with the fingerprint locks. Apple revised Face ID to fall back to passcodes sooner if authentication fails, then in 2021, previewed the option to use Face ID in conjunction with a paired Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone if hindered by face masks. Face unlocking technology has now become an inseparable part of smartphones in all price ranges, but most iPhone and Android users are experiencing problems unlocking while wearing musk. It has been reported that a software update iOS 14.5 will enable face id to work even when we are wearing a face cover.


Fingerprint unlock system


Source- The Bubble

Fingerprint unlock is the most reliable mobile security system because each person has their own unique biometry, making it nearly impossible to unlock the phone without one's own fingerprint. There are two major types of fingerprint sensors.


Physical fingerprint scanner:

Motorola was the first smartphone that introduced fingerprint scanner technology in mobile phones back in 2011 with its Motorola Artix and we have come a long way since. Though the main concept is still the same a lot of improvement has also occurred in this technology. In 2013 Apple introduced a faster 2

There are two types of physical fingerprint sensors we know until 2021. One is the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and the other one is the side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which will be launched by the Redmi Note 9 series in 2020. In the case of side-mounted technology, the fingerprint scanner is superimposed with the power lock-unlock button.

The fingerprint scanner on display

Vivo launched this technology in 2018with its Vivo X20, but it was only in China. After two months in March 2018, Vivo launched another X series globally. These devices included a selected region in the display where we had to tap our finger to unlock. Though this is a next-generation development, this is a really costly technology and hence it is not yet used widely.

Smart lock feature:

This Google-based security system was first introduced in 2011, but now this feature is preinstalled on most devices. There are four types of smart lock option hidden on your phone:

  1. Body detection: Your phone will remain unlocked as long as you are holding it or, in other words, using it, but it will lock itself if you put it down or are not using it and will require validation again to be unlocked.

  2. Trusted places: Designing this to perceive someplace like your home can be a useful method to stay away from verification where it's by and large not required, yet keep your mobile taking all things together.

  3. Trusted device: It engages us to advise our mobile to avoid the lock screen whenever it's associated with a particular Bluetooth 11 gadget

  4. Voice match


Why are Apple devices more secure than Android devices?

Apple has a close working framework, hence it doesn’t share its source code with application designers. This makes it hard for programmers to discover the weaknesses of iOS powered gadgets.

Source- Vox

Android and iOS gadgets should know about conceivable malware and infections, and be cautious while downloading applications from outsider application stores. Downloading applications from trusted sources, such as Google Play and the Apple App Store, is the safest option.

There are social engineering assaults in which cybercriminals encourage clients to give up sign-in data, access to financial balances, and other personal information. It doesn't make any difference what portable working framework you are utilizing: the two iOS and Android can be similarly powerless against these sorts of assaults.


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To help their work, Newsmusk allows writers to use primary sources. White papers, government data, initial reporting, and interviews with industry experts are only a few examples. Where relevant, we also cite original research from others respected publishers.


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