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Buying a New iPhone? Here are the new features designed to protect you

Customers shop at the Apple Fifth Avenue store ahead of the release of the Apple iPhone 14 on September 16, 2022 in New York City.

Andrew Kelly | reuters

It’s Black Friday and the official start of the holiday shopping season, and there’s a new iPhone 14 for consumers to upgrade their Apple devices to. From better cameras and longer battery life to faster chips, there are plenty of features consumers will consider when buying a new iPhone.

A new safety feature that is getting a lot of attention is emergency satellite communication. Cyber ​​security may not be among the top selling points, but there are some important security upgrades in the new iPhone and iOS16 as well.

The focus on security is nothing new from Apple, which has made user privacy one of its key messages over the years, regularly adding new security features within iOS updates and on new phone models, such as Face ID. Facial recognition, app tracking prevention, and private browsing.

Better low-light photo capability and extended battery life on the new Apple iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max may be more tempting than the security upgrade. But from new satellite connectivity features to Apple’s first eSIM-only phone, the iPhone 14 offers a host of new technologies to further protect your privacy, including a brand new Lockdown Mode.

Lockdown: Apple’s most extreme safety mode

All models of the iPhone 14 come preinstalled with iOS 16, which has a new form of security called Lockdown Mode. The tool enables an extreme level of security that prevents malware from accessing your phone, blocks most message attachment types, FaceTime calls, and more. Phone calls, plain text messages and emergency features will continue to work in lockdown mode.

You are not expected to use this feature, unless you are a CEO or head of state, or are planning to be soon.

“It’s only a small segment of users who may be targeted by a nation-state threat actor,” said Kathleen Moriarty, chief technology officer at the Center for Internet Security. “That being said, it can be a CEO for a company … [an] official in government, and the ability to lockdown the device and prevent execution or access to the data on your phone could be critical.”

But the convenience may be enticing to a broad base of security-minded individuals.

Research has found that more than 90% of undetected security bugs reside in code that is rarely executed, says Justin, associate professor of computer science and engineering at New York University Tandon School of Engineering and member of New York University’s Cybersecurity Center. Cappos said. Lockdown Mode removes that risk while making the phone experience “a little more inconvenient” for most users.

After testing Lockdown Mode, Cappos said the only visual changes he noticed were fonts appearing different and icons for health apps not displaying correctly. And because of a very similar user experience and added security benefits, it plans to use Lockdown Mode as its default and exempt apps only if necessary.

Android phones have offered a function called “lockdown” since 2018, when the feature became available on Android 9. Designed to block all biometric security and voice recognition, it works a little differently than the Apple feature.

Lockdown turns off fingerprint, face, and voice recognition on Android to prevent anyone from accessing your phone. However, once the Android is unlocked via a password, PIN, or pattern, the lockdown kicks in. While the iPhone keeps your device in lockdown mode at all times, Android ensures this protection only if users re-enable the feature every time they unlock their device.

Despite the similar names, Android’s Lockdown is more focused on preventing the physical hijacking of the phone. Apple’s approach emphasizes protecting devices from digital threats. In most cases both modes are not intended for daily use by the general public, but have features that can help individuals in high-risk situations.

Switch to eSIM-only phone

Steve Jobs never wanted the original iPhone to have a SIM card tray, and the iPhone 14 models are finally achieving that goal. Apple introduced eSIM cards back in 2018, but the new phone series is the first of its kind to completely eliminate the SIM card tray and use eSIM only for the US market. All iPhone 14 models purchased in the US are eSIM only, which enables users to easily connect and transfer their plans digitally.

“This prevents someone from physically swapping your SIM card if you leave your phone unattended,” Cappos said. It has been used to steal accounts of high-profile individuals such as former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and to mine cryptocurrencies. Has been done to steal lakhs.” ,

Although the physical form of identity theft is reduced, there are security risks to consider before switching to the eSIM-only iPhone 14.

Moriarty said, “Carriers cite security concerns such as an attacker taking over your phone number because a carrier change doesn’t require a physical SIM card, just the eSIM already on the phone and an SMS code.” ” “At the same time, carriers are also concerned because eSIM allows for an easier transition between carriers for the end user, which could hurt user retention.”

Android 9 was the first version of the phone to implement the use of eSIM. The company has shown increasing efforts to offer both a SIM card and an eSIM on its new phones, but there’s no Android only eSIM.

emergency sos via satellite

In efforts to expand the security features of the iPhone, the new lineup offers Emergency SOS via satellite that allows users outside of cellular or Wi-Fi coverage to connect directly to a satellite and contact emergency services. When Emergency SOS is activated, the phone will prompt questions to assess the user’s position and direct them where to point their phone to connect to the satellite. These questions will be sent to Apple-trained experts who will then call in for help.

There is a potential security issue related to this new feature.

Cappos said, “It certainly creates a situation where someone being trapped or critically needing to be a lot safer for that person. But, of course, having additional ways to communicate, monitoring And there are opportunities for things like that.”

Apple notes that messages are sent in encrypted form but are then decrypted by Apple so that emergency services can proceed. Your location will also be shared with Apple and its partners when using this feature.

“It makes you have to trust Apple a little more, but it could also potentially save your life in some situations,” Cappos said.

Emergency SOS via satellite is launching on iPhone 14 models this month with the iOS 16 software update. However, the feature will only be available in the US, which includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands along with Canada. Users will be able to use this feature for free for two years from the start of their plan. After this, it can become a paid additional service for iPhone users.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president of Android and other Google services, recently confirmed via twitter The company is working on satellite connectivity for the Android 14 operating system, which will require hardware changes from Android phone makers.

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