Potential Security Vulnerabilities in Windows Phone 8.1

The Windows Phone 8.1 is years overdue, but it’s still being hyped up by Windows fanatics. It is also being praised in the enterprise smartphone market as what may be the next big thing. There were a lot of issues early on, seeing that only Nokia was building Windows-compatible phones and developer support was staggered. However, Nokia helped capture Microsoft’s vision with the Windows Phone and brought it to the mainstream market.

This is much of the reason that the Windows Phone never died out. And now it’s poised to become bigger than ever. Just this week, Microsoft released many details which will likely trigger mass adoption of both their smartphone system and their Windows 8 software. More specifically, it released announcements that will really catch the attention of enterprise customers.

Windows phone

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns / Wikimedia Commons

Some of the key benefits announced for the Windows Phone 8.1 system include:

– Improved sensor technology from Nokia allows for certain Windows Phone devices to monitor various parts of your everyday life including the amount of steps you take, the speed that you run at, and the geographic locations that you spend most of your time at.
– The Nokia Lumia series will feature Windows Phone 8.1 with the Cortana Voice Assistant app, which provides users with a personal assistant to make it easier to get the most out of their Windows phone.
– Per-app VPN controls, which allow users to manage which VPN network is used when each app is opened. This means corporate networks can easily be sectioned for only apps that are related to the business.
– Built-in VPN support and auto-triggered VPN.
– Password protection for Office documents.
– Ability to remotely lock Enterprise phones and change their passwords if ever necessary.

That’s all fine and dandy, and it’s really easy to see why the hype is starting to build, but no product launch comes without potential flaws.

So what are the potential concerns with the Windows Phone 8.1 that users should be aware of heading into the launch date?

Potential Security Vulnerabilities to Consider in Windows Phone 8.1

There is no way to claim that certain vulnerabilities may exist.

However, there are some potential vulnerabilities that could be considered in general and there are ways to prevent them from being an issue for you.

Firstly, you may want to make sure that your VPN is operating with a tightly sealed DNS server. This means that you want to avoid having a DNS leak while using the VPN on your Windows phone. You will have to run a DNS leak test to find out whether or not your DNS is leaking. This is important as you do not want to inadvertently broadcast the DNS of your corporate network to public devices.

Secondly, the fact that Windows 8.1 offers a feature for user’s to auto-connect to public wireless networks is a bit concerning. This is because of the recent discussions over the Snoopy Drone, which serves as a hacking device that can spoof public wireless networks to intercept your data. This is something that criminals may begin using regularly, so preventing your phone from auto-connecting to a public network is very important.

It is really hard to predict what other potential leaks or vulnerabilities may be exposed when the Windows 8.1 phones hit the market. All that can be said is that it will be worthwhile to keep up to date with the latest discussions for the first while and to be careful with the security settings you choose for your Windows phone.

Further, the extent of VPN support that will be provided within the Windows 8.1 system has yet to be declared and this feature could either turn out to be incredibly great or virtually useless.

Why You Should Feel Comfortable with the Security of Windows Phone 8.1

There is something very positive to note. The Windows 8.1 system has been created with a live bounty for security flaws. Microsoft has been awarding individuals that discover a bug with $100,000 for their discovery.

Why should this $100,000 reward make you feel a bit safer about Windows Phone 8.1? Because it means that many top security experts are analyzing the system to try and find bugs and any found bug would obviously end up being reported. In fact, numerous bugs have been found. To date, Microsoft has paid over $253,000 in bounties.

Of course, this does not mean that there are any guarantees that there will be absolutely no security vulnerabilities with a Windows 8.1 mobile device. If any issues are to arise, they most likely will not be noticed until well into the release of these devices. So it is still important to be a little precautious when using some of the phone’s newer features – as such, double checking that the VPN is working right is obviously important.

It will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 8.1 plays out. It is proving to be an attractive mobile platform for enterprise users, but right now all that is known as fact is that its expectations are high.