Smartphones stopped being merely fancy phones years ago. Now, most people keep a hefty amount of important information on their smartphones — everything from bank accounts to contact information. Because of this, smartphone companies are working hard to improve smartphone security, and many of the latest phones come with some innovative security features to help keep your personal data safe. With this in mind, let’s look at the history of cellphone security and how far it is come:
Slide and unlock
Smartphone security started with lock screens in the Android 2.0 and iOS 5 phones. This feature simply had you slide the home icon across the screen to unlock the phone. While it was better than having your screen visible at all times, it was not exactly secure; after all, anyone with a finger could unlock the screen.
To help with this issue, passcodes were added to smartphones. This forced you to input a PIN every time you wanted to get to your main screen. To up the security ante even further, pattern locks were added to most Android phones. With this method, you had to trace a pattern over a series of dots to unlock your phone. The idea was that a pattern was harder for hackers to guess than passwords.
A few years ago, leading smartphone companies introduced fingerprint scanners to smartphones. This was the first hardware security feature on a smartphone and one that was immediately popular with customers. Owners of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s liked unlocking their phones by swiping their fingers over a scanner located on the home button or the rear camera.
This technology is still being used on the most state-of-the-art smartphones. For example, the iPhone SE features Touch ID, which makes unlocking the smartphone easy and secure because your fingerprint is as unique as you are — and you never have to worry about losing or forgetting it.
In addition to using your fingerprint to unlock your phone, you also can use it to enable Apple Pay purchases. This way your credit card details are not shared or stored on your iPhone. As a bonus, Apple has a strong reputation for creating secure devices due to its closed ecosystem and encryption practices.
Iris and facial recognition scanners
The iPhone 8 is rumored to include an iris scanner that will enable you to authenticate your identity with your eyes. Your iris contains a random pattern that is unique to you. In fact, CEO Mark Clifton of Princeton Identity explains that the FBI uses 13 points on a fingerprint to identify you (that comes to 130 points for all 10 fingers), but your iris has 200 points of detection (or 400 for both eyes). This means an iris scanner makes your phone very secure. The Samsung Galaxy S8 also includes iris scanning and facial recognition to keep your phone and data safe and secure.