Concern about the various threats to digital privacy is growing but many are not aware what differentiates a truly secure phone platform. There are popular free apps used by millions of people daily, even though these apps pose security risks.

Companies often collect and sell user data to third-party marketing companies, regardless of claims their product provides “end-to-end encryption.” Most people don’t bother to read the policy outlining the permission they’re granting to use these apps and what they are relinquishing in terms of their privacy to do so.

These are the features you should be looking for if you want a secure phone.

Proprietary Server Storage

Since it’s virtually impossible to crack encryption, hackers look for ways to bypass it to steal your data. Sensitive information is often stored somewhere on the server. Therefore, you want an encrypted phone provider that doesn’t back-up your communications and has exclusive ownership of their servers so they can assure your data security 24/7.

When a company uses its own servers, it eliminates the risks associated with third-party outsourcing, which means practices such as maintenance, back-up protocols and physical access are questionable. The most secure platforms have a proprietary approach, without storing data and communications on the server, only essential information – username, account activation and expiry date – is retained.

There’s a major difference between platforms built from the ground up for security and those with significant privacy liabilities, which only offer a couple of security features.

Suite of Secondary Protection

The best encrypted phones use end-to-end encryption to keep digital intruders out and provide you with a suite of secondary security features in case the device itself gets into the wrong hands.

A notebook lock screen with a custom pin for two-factor security is one layer, rounded out with other important features. Tamper-proofing gives users the opportunity to create a duress password where the data on your phone will automatically wipe if someone enters the wrong password too many times.

Messages and even contacts can be set to self-destruct. If you’re sharing sensitive information that can’t be accidentally or even intentionally shared, pre-emptively controlling its shelf life is a perfect way to limit who can see what. Any content set to self-destruct can’t be forwarded, favorited or shared and it will be destroyed on the device, even if there’s no data connection.

Easy for Anyone to Use

Secure phones need to be easy for anybody to use — the more complexities there are, the easier it is for a user to compromise themselves accidentally. Don’t waste time navigating a challenging platform. Choose a secure phone where you can access all the features with one-touch. Modern technology should be fast and secure, not one or the other.

Almost everybody has a cellphone, yet very few people know how hackers operate and how secure platforms fight back. Get a phone with all the above features, and you’ll be set.

Terry Ts

By Terry Ts

Focusing China's mobile phone and electric vehicle market, senior automotive media reporter.