2021 for modern mobile platforms started with the true duopoly of cores. One of the camps is Apple with iPhone; another is Android and Linux-like systems. Iphones are not an option in the questions of custom security. It is a proprietary firmware that can’t be “tweaked” system. And the heaviest problems here are local warranty and policy in general. Frankly, Apple doesn’t want to share the core features. You can’t just repair your iPhone without losing a warranty. The same thing is about security. All settings for risky activities (like playing in unknown no-account casinos) are limited for Apple products. Any custom firmware makes your brand new cellphone almost illegal, and these products are too expensive. Few users are bold enough to start this customization.
But for extreme situations, when you need iOS features desperately – there is one actual Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Secure Phone. This version gives you full Apple encryption. Unfortunately, all the technologies are still proprietary here.
So, the key platform for cybersecurity remains Android-powered smartphones and their forks. But there are some problems even within a formally “free” operating system. The Android market is growing in the shadow of trade wars. Every computer geek has heard about the ban on Huawei in the USA. The renowned Chinese corporation announces a very pompous answer to these actions. Voila, we have HarmonyOS now. It is practically a fork of the actual Android under the patented UI. And this is a nightmare for security workers. You can’t download a developer’s kit freely. The corporation will ask for all of your data, and there is a lot of bureaucracy after it. The so-called “free” system is more limited than iOS. At the same time, there is another fork of the technology – Pinephone. It was made for geeks by engineers. An average user can’t just start doing a daily routine with these devices. Though. Pine Phones are very secure if you know how to tweak them.
The customer’s wise choice would be to have an Android-based smartphone with moderate security options. Let’s see how much of them represent the market at the beginning of 2021.
The best choices for risky operations
Sirin Labs Finney U1
It is one of the most reliable phones when it comes to crypto operations. The phone has good blockchain support that gives you secure transactions. Also, the platform has a hard patented multi-layered software that is free: you need to buy the Finney U1. The killing feature here is a cold storage crypto wallet right in the device. The system is called Sirin OS, and it runs all the lines of security smartphones. The gadget has enhanced cyber protection via secured communications (VoIP, text, email). Also, it has a 3-factor authentication, which is heavier than usual.
The problem here is the price. It starts at $999. Still, this gadget is affordable for too valuable accounts.
Bittium Tough Mobile 2 C
This system is like an onion: it has a lot of security layers. Also, the firmware helps you to keep all the data secure, regardless of the data value. The strong disk encryption gives you comfort operations, and tamper detection helps to find additional phishing malware. Bittium Tough Mobile 2 C is a peak of technologies of Bittium Corp. It runs under heavily modified but still open Android 9 Pie operating system. It means that every user can use additional plugins freely.
The network technologies here are provided by Bittium’s SafeMove mobile VPN, one of the most convenient net shields for anonymous browsing. It is a plus for casino operations too. Bittium Tough Mobile 2 C is expensive but extremely useful both in the corporate and the personal segments of the market.
Purism Librem 5
Well, at last, we have a decent open-source secure smartphone. It is working on the PureOS. As the name says, this is the “cleanest” Android version, without bells and whistles, for partial information protection only. The storage here is modest, only 32 GB (the very beginning of the middle class). But the system also has 3D rendering functions. The render, though, is the cause of relatively short battery life.
As for the software, the company does its best – regular updates, layered security protection, many kill switches, and an additional Wi-Fi shield with enhanced VPN functions are here. The default search engine here is DuckDuckGo. It is fast and leaves no traces.
Silent Circle Blackphone 2
It is one more heavy-packed business smartphone with advanced encryption and some additional net features. The Silent Circle is founded by Phil Zimmermann – one of the renowned developers of PGP, which is one of the heaviest free encryption systems for Linux. The Silent Circle Blackphone 2 is famous for its GoSilent Firewall — slightly paranoid but a good heuristic net shield. The Silent OS inside the phone allows multiple tweaks and total control over your privacy.
The chip-making giant, Qualcomm, works with Zimmermann on an origin hardware device for secure partitioning. It is a unique and worthy feature.
When you see it – you can remember the days of old PDAs. Sirin Solarin is heavy, almost 250 g. But for what? Of course, the system has a powerful 8-core processor, good camera, but the trick is about the body. It’s almost a monolith, military-tested for any stress.
As for cybernetic security, the phone has fully AES-256 encoding and a Zimperium anti-malware suite. But the price here is almost for sheiks – enormous $16,000. The device itself is a pinnacle of security but for VIPs only.