When you sign up for a service, or purchase a new device, you’ll often be provided with free ancillary services as a bonus. When it comes to technology such as cell phones, many security services or apps will either come standard or will be highly recommended. One such free service is an operating system known as GrapheneOS. This operating system which is available for free is being bundled with phones sold by companies that are making false claims about the capabilities of the phones using this operating system.
So, should we be skeptical about the claims companies make pertaining to phones sold with GrapheneOS, or does it deliver everything that the phone companies claim?
Let’s take a look.
GrapheneOS: From Development to Implementation
Security and privacy have been important concerns that have dominated the technology space for years. For this reason, Daniel Micay led a project in 2014 with the goal of solving the issue of poor security on tech devices. Micay’s original program was known as CopperheadOS, which he developed with the help of partner James Donaldson.
Donaldson was the CEO of Copperhead, which was a Canadian company specializing in tech security. However, Micay and Donaldson’s partnership would prove to be short lived. After an intense falling out with his partner which made headlines and flooded social media feeds across various platforms, Micay rebranded his product as GrapheneOS and moved on from Copperhead.
GrapheneOS became extremely successful, as the operating system also caught the eye of the internationally known tech expert Edward Snowden. For those that have forgotten, Snowden became incredibly famous (or perhaps infamous, depending on your point of view) after leaking information about government spying and privacy breaches against United States Citizens. To avoid prosecution, Snowden fled to Russia, where he continues to reside to this day, frequently weighing in on privacy and security issues from around the world.
Snowden’s approval, combined with the fact that the program is free and effective, has led to GrapheneOS being downloaded and used on many Android devices.
Additionally, others in the industry, have also applauded GrapheneOS for its ease of use and effectiveness as a free service. However, in the past few years there have been an increasing number of companies reselling Google Pixels with GrapheneOS stating that the phone provides fully encrypted services. These companies such as NitroPhone are putting free apps on phones installed with GrapheneOS and reselling the device with a huge mark up even though this is free and can be done by yourself.
Limitations of GrapheneOS
A phone with GrapheneOS is a hardened OS with better privacy than a factory setting phone however companies are falsely claiming they also provide encrypted services. To the credit of GrapheneOS’s developers, they never specifically state they offer encrypted communication services such as encrypted calling, encrypted messaging, encrypted multimedia or other necessary security features. GrapheneOS has maintained from the beginning that their program offers improved privacy and anonymity, but does not provide encryption services.
Furthermore “End-to-end encryption” does not mean the device which stores messages in plain text is tamper proof. A phone running GrapheneOS does not protect you from the risk of other app developers stealing and selling your data. It is still just as vulnerable to regular email attacks such as phishing attacks, virus attacks, malware and identity theft and spam.
The Risks to Consumers
As we deepen our knowledge about topics, we are forced to specialize in certain areas. No one can possibly know everything there is to know about medicine, science, and for our purposes: security technology. For this reason, there are experts in this field who dedicate years to learning the finer points and details pertinent to the security industry.
Therefore, we cannot expect the public to fully understand the differences and nuanced definitions of “end-to-end encryption”, “device privacy”, and “device security”. Sadly, advertisers of companies frequently leverage this lack of knowledge and use it against consumers. By appealing to customers’ fears and misunderstandings of security on devices, advertisers have created justified mistrust for the average device user duping them to believe they are fully protected. We believe paying for a product you can get for free and still have security exposure is simply foolish.
Device Security as Our Core Focus
Ghost is one of the few companies that can honestly claim to provide complete device security. In fact, security is one of our biggest goals when it comes to our devices, and we strive to provide protection against every possible threat.
With no backdoor features, and the most sophisticated encryption software available on the market; you can be rest assured that your Ghost device maintains your privacy and security at all times.
Furthermore, should your phone fall into the hands of a thief, we have ensured that our secondary security features will protect you from losing your private information, even in the absence of internet connection. For example, you can create a duress password, which will wipe any and all information from your device when entered. Similarly, if an unauthorized person is attempting to guess your password, after so many attempts, the device will automatically wipe all data.
To take your security even further, you have the option to allow for automatic deletions on your Ghost device. This means that regardless of any other factors, your pictures, videos, voice messages, and texts will delete when you want them to do so. The technology is so advanced that the self-destruct functionality even prevents others from saving or forwarding files that are marked for self-destruction.
Trust in Security
The world today is complicated and hard to navigate. With various news stations reporting totally different interpretations of the same event, it’s impossible to know who to trust. But while the multi-faceted issues involved with political affiliations and financial incentives will always require us to have our guards up, we can rest easy in the fact that some companies still value honesty.
Ghost will never create a backdoor to access your information and will always respect your privacy. We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to security and we are deeply committed to defending that right against anyone who tries to violate it.
We live in the technological era where phones can relay information in an instant but ironically, many people lack the information of the security risk their phones are exposed to. The operating system GrapheneOS never claims to offer full security encryption services, that claim comes from phone companies and other related parties who are stretching the truth to sell more products.
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