When purchasing a reconditioned phone, be sure to check for security features. What you should know about used phone security is provided below.
The cost of cell phones is high and isn’t going down. A fantastic option to avoid this regrettable trend is to purchase a refurbished phone instead of a new one, but doing so carries some hazards. If you’re not vigilant, used phones can be a serious security hazard.
Nevertheless, a lot of used phones are completely secure. Before making a purchase, you should be aware of the security concerns with used phones.
New vs. Refurbished Phone Security
The main danger of purchasing a refurbished phone is that you can’t be sure of its provenance. With a brand-new phone, you may be certain that nothing has been done to it since it left the factory, but there is no such assurance with used phones..
That presents a chance for cybercriminals to sell cheap but infected phones to unwary consumers.There are numerous ways for people to remotely hack your smartphone, but they are all made simpler if they already have physical access to it.Before selling it to you, they might put malware on it, jailbreak the phone, or track it, making it an easy way to access your private information.
Due to obsolete software, used phones may also be less secure than newer models. It might have been vulnerable to security problems because the previous owner didn’t keep up with updates. Similar to this, even if the cell phone doesn’t belong to a criminal, a careless user could have unintentionally downloaded malware.
Security Red Flags When Buying a Refurbished Phone
These circumstances might seem extreme, but as cybercrime rises, they are becoming more probable and alarming. According to SciTechDaily, the U.S. market for spyware increased by 63 percent just between 2020 and 2021. It pays to be vigilant for warning signs given that risk.
Any offer that sounds unreasonably generous should cause concern. A relatively new phone selling for only a few hundred dollars is probably not being offered by the real owner who is merely attempting to get a good deal. It can be a cybercriminal offering a compromised device at an alluring price.
Another excellent location to search for warning signs is in a seller’s reviews. Whether you’re purchasing from a company that performs renovations or another user on a resale website, check them out. If a seller receives a lot of bad feedback, avoid them. In contrast, a strangely high number of repetitious, odd-sounding positive reviews can be a sign of bots, which you should also stay away from.
If you can’t locate any information about a seller, don’t buy from them. Even if they have fantastic rates, there is too much danger to trust without a review history or a mechanism to verify genuineness. You should purchase from a seller who provides more details regarding the phone, such as the OS version and any wear and tear.
How to Ensure Your Refurbished Phone Is Secure
Due to the security risk, take precautions to keep safe when using reconditioned phones. Here are some precautions you should take while purchasing and utilizing a used phone.
Buying solely from reputable sellers is the first and most crucial step. Instead of direct sales between customers, it is advisable to look through authorized reconditioned websites. These cell phones ought to be backed by a warranty or other assurance, confirming that they are in good working order and free of any data left behind by the former owner.
When it’s possible, it’s ideal to buy directly from the manufacturer. These often have longer warranties and go through stricter quality control procedures. If nothing else, buying from a reputable provider is assured, just like when purchasing a new phone.
You can take it a step further and get particular models that are safer right away. Some of the most secure smartphones available today are those made by Apple and Google, with features like integrated anti-phishing defense and safe app stores.
Perform a Factory Reset
It’s best to factory reset your phone before using it, regardless of where you purchased it. A factory reset instantly clears your phone entirely, making it a handy option to remove any settings or applications that might be harmful to you.
Each model has a different process for factory resetting a phone. In most cases, you need to go into your settings, select General or System, or something similar, then touch the Factory Reset or Erase All Data option. To complete it, you’ll likely need to enter your password.
If you get a phone from the original manufacturer that has been certified refurbished, they ought to factory reset it before delivery. Even so, since this procedure is quick, it is recommended to carry one out on your own for your own peace of mind.
Download the Latest Updates
Examine your phone for any available software upgrades after doing a reset. That includes updates for specific apps as well as the operating system on your phone. This will guarantee that you get the most recent security measures, even if the previous owner missed them.
While you’re about it, find out when the maker of your phone will stop supporting your model by contacting them. Sometimes a phone’s end-of-life date isn’t known with certainty, but you can estimate a general timeline based on historical trends. For instance, the Statista graphic depicting iOS compatibility over time shows that updates for iPhones typically halt after five years.
Consider a newer model if your phone is getting close to the end of its update cycle. Although it might continue to function without upgrades in the future, installing old software can leave you open to threats.
Observe Any Suspicious Activity
For a while, keep an eye out for anything strange. If you want to know if your phone has been hacked, look out for a few warning signals. If you’ve taken all the aforementioned precautions, you’re probably safe, but monitoring your gadget for a few months will give you additional confidence.
Make sure your data use matches how you use the phone. Concerns should also be raised by any ominous text messages, calls, app activity, or OS issues. Install a reliable anti-malware program and search for harmful software if you see these symptoms.
Stay Safe When Buying a Refurbished Phone
When purchasing a reconditioned phone, be sure to check for security features. By following these instructions, you’ll obtain as near to a new model’s guarantee as you can.
As cybercrime increases and new phones become more expensive, it is expected that thieves will use used phones more frequently. Given that trend, understanding how and why to protect their safety is crucial.