Why Encrypt your phone?
Some recent legal rulings have suggested that encryption can protect against warantless searches. The California Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lawfully search your cell phone without a warrant if it’s taken from you during arrest – but they would require a warrant if it was encrypted. A Canadian court has also ruled that phones can be searched without a warrant as long as they’re unencrypted. We all know that police officers only have to open your phone and look if they want to see your data. The average cop will not be able to break your password but the geeks back at the police station may be able to.
If your phone is stolen you could be at risk of identity theft. Learning how to encrypt your phone will protect you from this risk. A thief may want more than your phone, remember that.
Encrypting your phone
Most android devices come with the option to encrypt your phone. You can find this under the security settings. Apple products (IOS) automatically encrypt your data when a password is enabled.
When you encrypt your phone you will create a password on the Android platform that initiates the encryption. This password is stored in your phones RAM when you enter it (same with IOS). If you have your phone on, the password is stored in your RAM, but if your phone is off it is not. Because you typed in your password, it is now on the phone…get it.
In other words, if someone gets a hold of your phone while it is on – your encryption key (password) is on the device and could possibly be exposed. This is very rare although the possibility exists. The only conceivable way a hacker or person interested in achieving this could be successful is with a “freeze attack” or “cold booting”.
Cold Booting / Freeze Attacks
This is when someone reduces the temperature of your RAM or entire phone so that the phone processes slowly. During this slow period of booting your phone will grant a person with the right know how enough time to crack your password and unencrypt your device.
To prevent this, keep your phone in “hibernation” (not sleep) or turned off. Personally, my phone is always off unless I am using it. Learn How to Stop the NSA from Tapping your Phone here.
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