If you have an old Android or iPhone, you may not have the most recent security fixes. Here’s why it matters and what you should do about it.
In comparison to laptop and desktop PCs, smartphones do not receive extensive software support. Smartphones, on the other hand, continue to play an important part in our daily lives and hold the key to our digital identity. “Is it safe to use a phone that no longer gets updates?” you may wonder.
Updates often fix vulnerabilities in an operating system. So, what are the actual security hazards of using an old, out-of-date phone that no longer receives updates? And what can you do to be secure if you don’t have any other choice than to utilise an outdated phone model?
The Security Risks of Using an Old Smartphone
To get started, you need first to understand what security updates are.
Simply said, security updates are software updates that are primarily concerned with repairing existing faults or holes in order to improve programme security. So, if a hacker discovers a means to remotely control your device, this is a flaw that a security update can assist to remedy. This is in contrast to regular software updates, which improve the programme experience by refining it or introducing new features.
So, why is using a smartphone that doesn’t receive these updates a bad idea? Is it really that important?
Security experts warn against using unsupported smart devices and software, not only smartphones. This is for a good cause since it has serious security consequences.
The main reason is that having an old phone exposes your data to hackers. As previously stated, the primary purpose of security updates is to repair existing problems. There is no such thing as bug-free software in the real world—all software contains defects. If it doesn’t, it’s because existing ones haven’t been discovered yet. That is an important point to remember.
Because criminal hackers search into software to find holes, and once they do, they begin using the defects to commit crimes. Furthermore, fraudsters publish any flaws they discover in software, exacerbating the situation. Because obsolete phones cannot be fixed, they are frequently a target for crooks.
It doesn’t matter if you using an Android or an iOS smartphone. Security upgrades are required. It is one method of ensuring the security of your smartphone
As hackers aim to identify weaknesses ahead of cybersecurity specialists, the security sector is always evolving. Security professionals, on the other hand, aim to detect weaknesses and repair them before hostile actors exploit them. As an end-user, this implies that you should always be prepared to upgrade your Android phone or iOS device as soon as an update is available.
How to Stay Safe While Using an Old Smartphone
With the risks mentioned above, you should avoid using an old phone. However, this is sometimes easier said than done because it may necessitate upgrading your smartphone every two to five years. The term of support for updates will vary based on the smartphone manufacturer and the price of your handset.
And, because regular updating isn’t an option for many people, you’ll be relieved to know that you may keep using your old phone as long as you take measures. First, make sure you have the most recent software update installed. Sure, it may seem repetitive, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your gadget is running the most recent software version.
You can verify this on Android by navigating to Settings > System > System Update. Remember that the exact methods may differ based on your Android skin. You may perform the same action on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
The second piece of advice is to only download apps from the official app stores: Google Play and Apple App Store. On iPhones, this isn’t a big deal because iOS doesn’t enable sideloading software unless your device is jailbroken. It’s one of the numerous reasons why iOS outperforms Android in terms of security.
However, because Android allows you to download apps from third-party sources, you should exercise extreme caution. While there are several secure sources to get APKs for Android, you should also exercise caution before installing an app. This also applies to those available through the Google Play Store, as Google does not always detect malicious programmes on its platform.
Third, you should keep your apps up to date. Hackers might also utilise programmes installed on your smartphone to conduct exploits. Applications, like your smartphone’s operating system, include bugs and weaknesses, which is why it’s important to update them on a regular basis.
Finally, when using your phone, you should observe safe security measures. Among these practices are:
• Refrain from downloading files from untrustworthy websites.
• Avoid connecting to unprotected public Wi-Fi networks.
• Reviewing and uninstalling apps that you no longer require on a regular basis.
You should also install security applications, safeguard your phone with a PIN, passcode, or whatever biometric security feature is available, avoid reading unsolicited emails, and use your phone’s built-in security capabilities, such as app permissions. Following these guidelines should keep you out of trouble.
Should You Rely on an Old Smartphone?
To summarise, you should not use a phone that does not get updates. The major reason for this is that a lack of security updates exposes your phone to hostile actors.
Cybercriminals devise innovative methods to circumvent software security features in order to obtain sensitive data. To combat this, cybersecurity specialists are continuously working to stay ahead of the bad guys, which doesn’t always succeed but is still necessary. That is, you should always upgrade your gadget if an update is available. However, it should now be evident that meeting this essential security need necessitates ongoing improvements.
So, if you’re concerned about the environment or can’t afford to upgrade your phone on a regular basis, you can still stay safe by ensuring you have the most recent software version on your device, avoiding downloading apps from third-party stores or websites, regularly updating your apps, and incorporating safe security practices into your daily smartphone use.