Is My Old Smartphone Safe to Use?
I know that a new Apple or Android smartphone is expensive. Many high-end phones can cost more than $1,000. But is using an old smartphone safe? Should you do your banking on that old smartphone?
The short answer is NO. Older smartphones can be risky to use for anything other than making a phone call.
What is a security patch? When an exploit is found the smartphone manufacturer will develop a fix, or security patch, to correct the phone’s software issue and protect against the exploit. For Android phones that security patch is given to the phone carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) to “push” to their customer’s phones. They may push it immediately or they may wait. If they wait, those unpatched phones are vulnerable to the exploit.
There are many Android phone manufacturers. They will provide support for their phones for a while. But each model of Android phone is costly to support. At some point, usually after 2 or 3 years, they will no longer provide support or fixes for older phones, and the unpatched phones will become less secure.
Unlike Android phones, Apple iPhones are patched by Apple and the carriers have no real control over the process. Apple patches the exploit as soon as they develop the fix. Apple currently supports iPhones for about 5 years. Right now, the 2015 iPhone 6S and newer iPhones can have the latest, most secure, software.
So, if you have an older phone that has not had a recent update are you at risk? Yes potentially.
Should you use the phone for banking? No, you should not.
Jarren Ringle is a member of SourcePoint and a volunteer instructor. He teaches various technology classes throughout the year. Jarren also volunteers at the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. With many years of project management experience in various technology fields, he enjoys helping others with technology.