Smartphones are becoming a favorite commodity among Internet users all over the world these days. Despite the obvious convenience factor, however, there are a lot of drawbacks as well. Most operating systems lack from security, making the smartphone a rather unsafe solution. Perhaps the new Tor Phone can provide some relief.
Will We Ever See A Fully Secure Smartphone?
Depending on whom one poses the question to, there are already secure smartphones out there. A lot of consumers see Apple as a reliable smartphone manufacturer, and they are not entirely wrong. In this day and age of government intrusion, however, it is due time to take things to the next level. Perhaps the Tor Phone will offer that level of privacy and security that consumers are looking for.
A prototype of this phone has been unveiled, and the newest updates make a very compelling argument. The Tor Project wants to demonstrate that it is possible to build a phone that can respect user freedom, while still removing more security vulnerabilities from the equation. Additionally, this phone prototype wants to meet the needs of high-security users while still being alluring to the average consumer as well.
One thing that has been a topic of substantial debate is how replacing the original operating system of the phone is not considered to be a secure practice. Making any modification to the OS immediately causes the boot security to be compromised. For users who are experimenting with Android ROMS and the likes, this is nothing new by any means.
The Tor Phone addresses this problem through its Copperhead OS, which is an open-source fork of Android. Its primary point of focus is security, while still offering the same features that most Android users are used to. However, it is the only ROM supporting Verified Boot, which prevents exploits from making root-level modifications to the device.
On paper, all of the above sounds like a security solution everyone should take notice of. But the Tor Phone project still has quite a few challenges ahead, such as the fact that system apps cannot be overridden by Google Play Store apps. So far, this is only possible on a few select phones, cutting out a significant portion of non-Google devices from the equation.
Smartphones offering Copperhead OS are available for purchase already, although they are not providing the most polished user experience just yet. As one would expect, these devices are not cheap by any means, with prices starting at US$600. To some users this will be more than worth it, whereas others may not see the value in it right now.
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