Smartphone Security: Why Mobile Phones Over Two Years Old Could Be a Risk

Published: Last Updated on
Smartphone Security

New cyber threats emerge every day that target our technology and exploit vulnerabilities. As such, it’s vitally important that we update our devices so that the latest protections are in place to keep us safe. 

But what if there are no longer any updates to rely on? Unfortunately, more often than not, smartphones that are older than two years may stop receiving support and security patches from manufacturers.

By using these phones, you could be leaving yourself open to cyberattacks from criminals, who are more than capable of infiltrating older, forgotten technology.

In this article, you will learn how vulnerable your old smartphone can be. There’ll also be simple but effective advice to help you decide whether to ditch your old phone and upgrade!

The dangers of using an old phone

Sadly, smartphones are not built to last indefinitely, and manufacturers will focus on developing and promoting new technology. By continuing to use older technology, you could be leaving yourself ripe for a cyberattack.

Below are five reasons why an old smartphone could be a liability:

  1. Outdated software against malware

Outdated software is one of the most significant risks of using an old phone. This is because your phone is not receiving information to protect itself from modern threats like malware.

What is malware? It’s any program, file, or code designed to harm a system. Malware can infect your phone through various means, including downloads, adverts, fake apps, and visiting malicious websites.

Through malware, hackers can steal personal information, spam your phone with unwanted apps and adverts, and render it unusable until you pay a fee. Ordinarily, modern phones would receive information to safeguard you and prevent infection. But old phones simply cannot keep up. 

So, how old is an old phone? While each model varies, experts have calculated the average lifespan of a model with a manufacturer’s expected support. These include:

  • iPhone: 4 to 8 years
  • Samsung: 3 to 6 years
  • Google Pixel: 3 to 5 years
  • Huawei: 2 to 4 years

These figures are just estimates, with some makes and models receiving longer or shorter support. But generally, the two or three-year mark is the sweet spot for upgrading your phone to ensure it is futureproof.

  1. Lack of encryption options

Encryption is one of the best defenses against cybercrime, as it encodes your data, making it difficult for hackers to understand the information you enter on your phone. Encryption adds another layer of protection if you’re entering sensitive information such as credit card numbers, addresses, or personal information.

Thankfully, encryption software is often bundled with modern phones, allowing you to password-protect files and login information straight out of the box. Unfortunately, this kind of technology may be missing on older phones, making any information or files susceptible to hacking.

  1. Weaker password protection

Passwords are the backbone of cybersecurity, and it’s no surprise that the stronger you make them, the more secure your phone becomes. However, with the rise in AI technologies, hackers are becoming more adept at breaking PINs.

Modern smartphones have various features that can help heighten your security and protect you against these emerging technologies. For example, biometric authentication verifies your identity by using a combination of your fingerprint, voice, eye, or facial features to grant you access. It can protect your phone from cyber threats and theft, as the criminal cannot verify their identity.

Most modern phones will have one or more biometric password options. Unfortunately, older models will be stuck using traditional 4-digit PINs that are becoming an easy task for hackers to crack.

  1. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks

Another big concern over your old phone is when you’re connecting to the internet, especially with public Wi-Fi networks. Evil twin attacks, for example, trick users into connecting to fake Wi-Fi networks that steal personal data and log online activity.

These fake Wi-Fi networks are often set up in places where public Wi-Fi is offered, such as cafes, libraries, and colleges. While modern smartphones can detect and flag suspicious connections and prevent you from falling for the trap, older phones may not.

  1. Vulnerable apps

As older phones don’t receive updates, many compatibility issues can arise from mobile apps, including missing useful features, poorer performance, and potential cyberattacks. Hackers often try to exploit known app weaknesses and target older phones that may not have downloaded recently updated protections. If your older phone cannot update applications, you should not use them. Any information you enter into them, or permissions you allow, could be intercepted by hackers.

Sharing is caring!

You may also like