Essential Guidelines for Encrypting Mobile Phone Communications
Ominously, mobile phones, particularly those running Android, are common targets for cyber criminals military grade anti-eavesdropping - especially when these devices are not equipped with end-to-end encryption. Checkpoint's 2021 Mobile Security Report disclosed that almost all businesses experienced cyberattacks focused on mobile communications, from calls and apps to entire networks. This report emphasizes the heightened risk, for instance, a ransomware attack could disrupt business operations, or a stolen company secret could give a competitive edge to rivals. The significance of secure phone calls through encryption tactics becomes starkly obvious when considering these tangible impacts.
Secured communications are a cornerstone of data and privacy protection. Encrypted phone calls instill a sense of security, reassuring businesses that malicious cyber entities can't intercept sensitive information shared via unsecured internet connections. The implications of secure calls extend beyond mere active efforts towards cybersecurity, as numerous regulations mandate businesses to uphold the full privacy of all stakeholders. Non-compliance could result in hefty fines, legal ramifications, and damaged reputations.
- Alarmingly, around 46% of companies are vulnerable due to employees downloading potentially malicious applications on their mobile devices. These apps open a backdoor for cybercriminals to eavesdrop on unencrypted video and voice calls, which could lead to significant data breaches and other security incidents.
- Unsettlingly, over 40% of mobile devices connected to the internet – encompassing Android and iOS platforms – have inherent vulnerabilities within their operating systems. Cybercriminals could exploit these weak spots, potentially leading to unauthorized access to user data or system control.
- A whopping 97% of global organizations grapple with myriad threats endangering their secure phones. Our escalating reliance on mobile technology and wireless connectivity amplifies the attack surface that cyber criminals can exploit, increasing the risk of multiple, simultaneous cyberattacks.
The Crucial Role of Secure Voice Calls for Business Communications
Secured communications are a cornerstone of data and privacy protection. Encrypted phone calls instill a sense of security, reassuring businesses that malicious cyber entities can’t intercept sensitive information shared via unsecured internet connections. The implications of secure calls extend beyond mere active efforts towards cybersecurity, as numerous regulations mandate businesses to uphold the full privacy of all stakeholders. Non-compliance could result in hefty fines, legal ramifications, and damaged reputations.
Ultimately, the encryption of phone calls ensures secure messaging, safeguards file transfer, and maintains the security of caller ID - all of these contribute to enhancing user privacy. Experts concur that mobile encryption is vital in preserving the privacy of users since hackers are perpetually engaging in man-in-the-middle attacks to pilfer personal, unencrypted information.
Common Phone Communication Methods
1. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
VoIP is a leading call communication standard that enables users to make voice and video calls. VoIP providers, such as Zoom and Skype, have become essential in the post-pandemic era since VoIP calls are done via an internet connection. However, sufficient network security and call encryption measures are essential components required to ensure secure communication. Attackers can intercept unencrypted VoIP communications, especially if they are done over insecure wireless networks.
Besides, since VoIP integrates CRM systems and analytics platforms, unencrypted VoIP has heightened security risks to a company. Therefore, organizations should only use VoIP providers that implement end-to-end encryption, deploy secure wireless networks with TLS security and enabled Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP), and implement two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized use.
2. How to encrypt phone calls (Landlines)
Landlines are largely unutilized today due to increased mobility and access to Internet services. Nevertheless, landlines are often secure since a single line connects callers on each end of the line. Although wiretapping attacks are possible threats, they are usually difficult to execute for individuals lacking access to law enforcement resources. Still, security threats impacting landlines are a reality, and enterprises should implement sufficient protection measures. A common method of enhancing the security of landline calls is only using secure phones that implement measures for implementing voice calls. In addition, callers on both ends of the line must use encrypted phones to protect sensitive communication from prying eyes.
3. How to encrypt phone calls (Cell Phones)
Cell phones have taken over communication in every sphere worldwide. Factors like reasonable security measures, convenience, and cheap costs have increased cell phone communication uptake. However, cell phones communicate through network signals, and individuals with the requisite knowledge can intercept them. Fortunately, an array of encryption techniques makes it possible to transmit confidential data without worrying that the communications may fall into the wrong hands. However, the overall security of cell phone communications largely depends on implemented encryption techniques. The following section discusses the different ways cell phone users can encrypt different types of phone communications.
Recommended Practices for Encrypting Phone Communications
1. How to Encrypt Phone Calls (Voice and Video Calls)
The Signal app, a desktop and smartphone encryption app is a widely used method for ensuring user privacy. Numerous security researchers have audited the open-source application, with academic cryptographers and renowned security analysts like Edward Snowden recommending it for its encryption capabilities. Therefore, Signal users can use it to make encrypted Signal voice and video calls. Alternatively, WhatsApp, the leading messenger platform, uses Signal’s encryption protocols for video and voice calls and is suitable for secure communication. Also, organizations can use the Wire encryption app to make encrypted group calls, an essential attribute for protecting the details of a highly sensitive conference call.
2. Encrypting Email Communications
Email communication is a widely used method for sharing sensitive data due to its convenience and reliance over the years. However, attackers have devised various methods through which they can intercept email communications. Luckily, multiple email applications contain built-in encryption protocols designed to safeguard secret chats. For example, users can integrate Enigmail with Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client to send encrypted email messages. Mailvelope is also a browser plugin that users can install to encrypt Gmail messages. Also, Protonmail email provides an end-to-end encrypted email service but requires all users to create Protonmail email accounts to send email messages securely.
3. Encrypting Data at Rest in Cell Phones
Android and iPhone users account for the lion’s share of mobile device users worldwide. As a result, they store terabytes of sensitive information that can attract malicious individuals, such as hackers and disgruntled friends or family members. Encrypting data at rest is a critical measure for protecting against unwanted access to personal information. Luckily, smartphone storage encryption is fairly effortless. Smartphones enable full-disk encryption, where setting a strong passcode can provide the necessary protection. Biometrics like fingerprints also enable users to encrypt and secure stored information.
4. Encrypting Test Messages
Modern messaging platforms provide end-to-end encryption protocols to prevent cybercriminals from intercepting communicated messages. WhatsApp and Signal are among the most popular messaging services renowned for their message encryption standards. Also, Facebook’s Secret Conversations encrypt data communicated through Facebook’s Instant Messaging app. However, other messaging services permit users to sign up without providing a phone number. The apps are recommended for phone users seeking some level of autonomy. However, downloading communication applications from third parties rather than the official vendors may introduce security risks like inadequate encryption and backdoors used for data exfiltration.