Modern smartphones are not like the plastic bricks we once had in the 1980s. These days, these devices work like mini computers, allowing people to transfer bank funds in real-time, check emails, connect with loved ones and friends in distant places, play games, and even purchase movies. Because of everything that we can do on these handheld devices, the risk involved in using them has grown significantly. Hackers and tech enthusiasts are always thinking of ways to crack these smart devices.
Yes, even by using Bluetooth technology, one can already crack a smartphone. Hackers can take advantage of the security gaps of the technology to deliver Bluetooth-based attacks like Bluejacking, Bluesnarfing, and Bluebugging.
Even more interesting, it’s not only criminals who are looking to break into your device. Government agencies, in particular, are now looking to create and set regulations on encryption to make it easier for them to get the information they need. Fortunately, many tech companies are one with the majority, not allowing others to invade user privacy. One company is Google.
Google has already done its part to make their devices more secure, ensuring that their devices are harder to crack. With their hard work and strong security measures, forensic detectives strongly believe that the Android platform is now harder to crack compared to its competitor: iOS.
An OS Shocker
Cellebrite, an Israeli company, is famed for developing the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED). It works like a cracking machine that enables law enforcement agencies to break into a locked device. Since the inception of the device, Apple has always been involved in a battle with it. This is because every time Apple blocks the device from working, the company will then create something new.
Once plugged into the Lightning port of an iPhone, the UFED can override the total number of passcode attempts given to a user before data is automatically wiped off from the device. This allows the cracking machine to try all possible passcode combinations to unlock the iPhone.
Cellebrite already recently said that they are capable of doing a complete file system extraction on any iOS device, even a full file system extraction even on high-end Android devices. However, more tests have to be done to prove that. Is it really harder to break into Android than the iOS platform?
Is It Really Harder to Break into Android Than iOS?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted a test to prove whether or not it’s really hard to break into the Android platform than iOS. They discovered that the devices created by Cellebrite and Grayshift can extract data from an iPhone 7. Cellebrite’s UFED, on the other hand, can retrieve data, such as GPS information, call logs, messages, and contacts from an iOS device. Some tests also showed that the devices can also get data from social media apps like Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
However, what’s interesting about the test is that they were not able to retrieve any data from Android devices using UFED. In fact, some Android devices, particularly Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9 would not grant access to GPS, internet browsing information, and GPS to these cracking machines.
UFED was also unable to get the call logs and messages from Verizon’s Ellipsis 8 tablet and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. The same applies to Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro. In contrast to reports and claims, no relevant or personal information can be obtained from the device.
From a Forensic Investigator’s Point of View
Detective Rex Kiser of the Fort Worth Police Department also performed a series of tests and forensic investigations to prove whether or not Android is now harder to crack than ever. He discovered that modern Android devices are harder to crack than their iOS device equivalents. He also noted that about a year ago, they couldn’t get into iPhones, but could crack Android devices. Today, the tables have turned, realizing that the latter devices are more difficult to break into.
More Robust Android Encryption
Based on reports and studies, it appears that Google has done a lot to improve its encryption. Now more than ever, Android devices are generally considered more secure than iOS. Google and other device manufacturers seem to have done a pretty good job at keeping criminals and law enforcement agencies from retrieving data from Android devices.
When used to test iOS devices, we can safely assume that the UFED tool is way more inferior. However, we can never be safe as government agencies may not always rely on these cracking machines. Government agencies have their own ways to find loopholes and create their own backdoors through various methods like reverse engineering. Perhaps in the near future, they could succeed and crack Android devices once they use or develop better tools. It is also worth noting that cracking a smart device isn’t the only way to retrieve information.
The Obvious Truth
No matter how new or advanced the features of a smart device, we have to understand that no smartphone is uncrackable. Everything we have today is a work in progress, even our computers’ operating systems. That is why developers always release updates to fix sleep wake failure on Mac and other Mac error codes as well as share PC repair tips and tricks.
What this all means is that more work has to be done to retrieve data from an Android device. Even if smartphone manufacturers are doing all they can to make their products more secure, we have to know that the number of cyber threats today is increasing. And with crucial information on our smartphones ranging from personal to financial data, we have to do our part. Once criminals get a hold of our important data, privacy and security are lost.
To somehow prevent smartphone hacking or cracking, we suggest that you invest in a reliable VPN on your mobile device. It also helps to always keep your device free of junk files and clean. Don’t worry because it’s not a difficult thing to do. You can always start by doing a quick search on Google. Here, you will find a plethora of mobile app cleaners designed for your smartphone. You can also try to visit Software Tested to check reviews about the recent smartphone app cleaners and get some tips on how to clean your phone.
Yes, Apple may have done a lot to secure their devices and make them more marketable. But now, it seems that they are proving otherwise because more hacking tools are being developed, testing the security of the iOS platform. We all once believed that iPhones are unbreakable, but the odds have turned to favor Androids.
Until now, we still don’t have any idea how both smartphones will perform in the future. One thing is for sure, though. The situation will depend on how Apple and Google will work on updating their mobile platforms. Also, we have to take into account the encryption policies and regulations that the government agencies will put up.
In the meantime, just do your part. Keep your smartphones safe and secure by keeping it free of unnecessary files, avoiding the download of unsecured files, and updating your mobile operating system. Trust us, all these little things will go a long way in terms of smartphone security and privacy.