In superyachts, this can be a very dangerous practice. Owners and guests who care about their privacy and online security should think twice before using a regular smartphone or tablet without extra layers of security.
How secure are standard devices?
Smartphones and tablets used by the general population are, in fact, largely vulnerable to security threats. Of all the standard phones that you can buy in a store right away, Apple’s iOS devices are certainly the most secure.
The reason for that is simple. Whereas Google has built a business model around the collection and handling of personal data, Apple has opted for a privacy-first approach via creating a private, first-party ecosystem of hardware and software.
A standard iPhone or iPad can be quite secure if certain features are handled correctly. For example, disabling location-tracking and ensuring that the devices are only connected to secure, private networks specifically operated via the superyachts.
With all that said, Android is actually the platform of choice for the world’s most secure devices. A handful of companies have created luxurious smartphones which would certainly fit a superyacht’s owner. Though these devices sometimes carry exorbitant prices when compared to the casual market, they offer additional layers of security in the simplest way possible.
One of the best-known examples in the niche is the BlackBerry Priv. Traditionally, BlackBerry has been known to create the most secure phones. In fact, the company’s phones have been used by a variety of governments around the world, including the U.S. Congress.
Though the company has seen better days, the Priv represented a return to form. The Priv is one of the most secure smartphones you can acquire today.
Another interesting device is the Blackphone by Silent Circle. The Blackphone 2, as its current iteration is named, promises a privacy-focused approach that is aimed at the everyday user. In this regard, it is quite similar to the BlackBerry. Even though it is slower than flagships of companies like Samsung,
its privacy and security features more than make up for its compromises in performance.
The phone requires no technical knowledge but it comes equipped with a range of secure services including a VPN and encrypted voice, text, and video communications services. Permissions for apps and other privacy pitfalls are also handled internally so that users can maintain full control.
Another example at the high-end of the scale is the Solarin, a $16,000 smartphone by Sirin Labs. Similarly to the Blackphone, the Solarin has several built-in software features that enhance security. The best thing about it, however, is a hardware switch that instantly turns off several hardware and software features and automatically provides hardware-based encryption for calls and messages.
Finally, Boeing Black is an exclusive device developed in partnership with BlackBerry. A modified version of this is actually used by President Donald Trump. The Boeing Black is a heavily encrypted device that can self-destruct its data at the first sign of tampering.
Security on smartphones does not always have to be limited to hardware and specific devices. Some services, such as Samsung Knox, BlackBerry Balance, allow users to create security-focused layers on their devices.
Services by well-known companies are the most trusted ones, and platforms like Knox are rigorously tested to ensure their safety. Knox, for instance, had several security issues in the past but was voted as the most secure platform back in 2016.
Third-party solutions also exist but they should always be approached with caution. Instead of relying in such services to protect their own phones, superyacht owners may be interested in providing modified devices to their crew members.
A modified device carrying employee monitoring software could be used to ensure that all crew members adhere to the specific guidelines. For example, some of them might know be aware that connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot or turning on location services are huge mistakes for privacy.
Security and data
Smartphones, security, and privacy are three items that do not often mix well together. Protecting yourself from both hardware and software-based attacks is extremely difficult. Ensuring the privacy of a superyact’s owner and their guests is an extremely complex matter and in the end, it may all come down to the devices they are all using.
Thankfully, there are quite a few software and hardware solutions out there today. The only additional thing required is some level of awareness about the security and privacy features found in modern devices. Other than that, some minimal investments and common sense can go a long way towards handling smart devices in a safe way.