Mobile Phones in UK are vulnerable to Cyber Threats

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More than half of the mobile phones being operated in United Kingdom are at a risk of exploitation from hackers, says a survey conducted by Privacy advocacy firm Which?

So, all those consumers who are buying a mobile phone through a network service provider, a retailer or a device manufacturer, you better be aware of such risks before it’s too late.

Which?, an organization that fights for consumer rights has found in its study that lengthy contracts put forward by phone network service providers is also leading to the phase where the phone software and hardware becomes obsolete, making it vulnerable to cyber attacks.

It is estimated that over 48% of devices operating in UK and surrounding areas could reach their life end by early next year and could lose security support anytime. But since they are bounded to a long-term contract between the consumer and the phone service provider, the user has no other choice except to use the phone for the next few months or years, leaving them exposed to high risks lurking in the cyber landscape.

According to Product Security Bill of UK, all device manufacturers must offer security update support for at least 5 years.

But due to long-term contracts and to the fact that only a few of the OEMs are sticking to this clause, many like O2 were found guilty as they offer a 3 year contract to their users, but their devices lose the potential of receiving security updates within 18 months.

What’s more? All phone service providers are always busy in selling those devices under strict contracts to make money. But they never bother about the risks the device poses after it looses the potential to receive updates.

Then what can we do under such circumstances- Change your phone for every 2 years and keep it up to date with the latest security fixes. Many OEMs likes Motorola, Samsung and Google are offering devices in such a way that they not only support fixes for the next 2-3 years, but can also be upgraded to the latest version of operating system. For instance, Google is offering a free OS upgrade to phones that are running on Android 9 OS and above- similar to that of Apple iPhone that can be upgraded to the latest version of operating system, just within 3 months of its release. However, upgrade support needs the phone hardware to support the latest version of OS and only few like Motorola, Samsung, OnePlus and Oppo do it.

Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security