Who exactly is looking at your phone data? For those using traditional cellular phones or even most smartphones, hackers find it very easy to steal more than just your calling and texting records. Everything from bank records, email, credit card numbers, and even your internet search history is available on WiFi enabled smartphones, and available to anyone with the right illegal equipment that wants to see them.
Unfortunately, this isn’t limited to just basement-dwelling hackers. The typical troglodyte that most picture as a hacker is more often replaced with the presentable and “friendly” face of big corporations like Google, Verizon, and government organizations like the NSA.
With standard cell phones and smart phones, most data is still transmitted over easily-intercepted radio waves. However, mobile VoIP technology encrypts calls and other communications into secure data packets, allowing users to take control of their data and keep it out of the wrong hands.
Google already has a bad track record concerning WiFi and privacy. In 2010, Google’s “Street View” units got caught downloading data from computers and other devices (including phones) while driving around and taking pictures for Google Maps. All the government asked for was a $7 million fine from Google, who were fortunate enough to have over $50 billion in revenue. Clearly, Google can afford to steal data on a regular basis. The question is, can you afford to have it taken without your knowledge or consent?
Now, their recently released Android update has a feature that’s just a little bit too convenient: "Back up my Data." This feature allows users to save all settings, passwords, WiFi security codes and more and transfer them to a new phone should you ever need one. The problem is, all of this data is stored on Google’s private servers. Users using this feature must trust Google with their private information, but it doesn’t take an expert to connect the dots. Especially after Google was exposed for complying with NSA’s Project PRISM, trust is very hard to come by.
Thankfully, mobile VoIP applications and providers are in a position to prevent data theft entirely. When calls and texts are sent through VoIP, they are compressed into hyper-efficient packets of data. These packets were designed to increase call quality and decrease bandwidth usage, but a nice side-effect is that they are much harder to crack open.
Even if VoIP data packets somehow get hacked, a hacker would only have a small segment of the call at their disposal (only a fraction of a second). The data encryption is extended to almost all uses for a smartphone, making private info almost impossible to access.
Of course, the disturbing thing is that hackers will always have more tools, and Google can still afford to make a few mistakes and pay off the fines. When dealing with the unknown, it’s impossible to have 100% security ratings. Still, mobile VoIP lets users at least close and lock their back doors, instead of leaving them hanging wide open for anyone to see.