In a world where digital security threats like malware and phone hacking are on a rise, mobile security is definitely an important aspect which shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s precisely why phone makers like Samsung are working doubly hard on new security tools and features that provide users with up-to-date protection against the latest security threats.
Thanks to a recent roundtable with Samsung’s Head of MX Security Team, Dr Seungwon Shin, we’d gotten a chance to learn more about the company’s in-house Knox security platform that comes pre-installed in most Galaxy devices. So what exactly is Knox and how does it protect user’s data and privacy? Let’s find out!
Samsung Knox: An Overview
It’s indisputable that Google’s Android OS is among the most secured mobile operating system with sophisticated security features in-place to keep hackers and malware at the bay. Samsung Knox takes that even further by delivering additional defense-grade hardware protections and critical controls that exceed the hardware and software requirements set out by Google.
The first step to achieve this is by implementing a chip up security model which makes use of hardware-level protection that allows mobile devices to provide cutting-edge security for it’s users. Next, it relies on advanced tools that safeguard user’s privacy to ensure whatever you stored or shared are accessible only to intended users.
Some of these tools include Knox Vault, an isolated, hardware-based and highly secure environment for the most critical information. It’s developed using a combination of security specific hardware and integrated software that shields data from the OS and applications. That means sensitive information like passwords and biometrics will always be safe from prying eyes.
Apart from that, there are also intuitive tools such as Privacy Dashboard, Privacy Indicator and Private Share that give users more control over their privacy. For instance, Privacy Dashboard lets user knows which apps have access to device features such as camera and location which we may not want certain apps to hold access because they felt shady or have no reason to access those features.
Just in case the user doesn’t have the time to audit through the list of apps within the Privacy Dashboard, the phone will still automatically prompt users whenever an app tries to access features such as camera, microphone and location for the first time. From there, users can either deny the app from accessing those features or granting them access only when using the app.
Samsung Knox: Eliminating Potential Threats
Like anything else, security threats are always evolving which is why it’s of paramount importance for smartphones to keep up-to-date with the latest threats. For that to happen, Samsung Knox system is regularly updated by leveraging on threat intelligence and analysis which involve the monitoring of threats through sources such as forums and security blogs where white hat hackers and security experts tend to share the latest developments in the field.
This will then allow security analyst to predict any potential threats or security breaches on Galaxy devices and carry out the necessary pen testing and updates to ensure devices will not be affected. Most importantly, Samsung also promises a minimum five years of security updates for newer models from the Galaxy S series, Z series, A series, tablets and even smartwatches.
Samsung Knox: What’s Next?
What we’d covered so far talks about how Samsung Knox protects Galaxy devices from possible hack attempts, malware and data leaks. However, the rise of IoT (Internet of things) means protecting a smartphone alone will not be sufficient to keep out cyber attacks due to connectedness between different devices such as computers, smart TVs and even refrigerators. Therefore if one device is compromised, all the others will be at risk.
This is why Samsung introduced the all-new Knox Matrix solution at this year’s Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) to allow users to have a peace of mind when using connected device ecosystems in today’s smart home. What Knox Matrix does is that it basically functions as a user’s own private blockchain system where the security of connected devices are enhanced through multi-layered mutual monitoring.
Here, the adoption of blockchain technology not only makes the login process more convenient, but also eliminates the risk of unauthorized access into the connected device ecosystems by sharing credentials device-to-device and protect sensitive information even between trusted devices.
Likewise, the underlying blockchain technology also allows connected devices to perform checks on each other to ensure none is compromised by malware. If any of the device(s) is compromised, it will automatically be disconnected from the rest to ensure the malware doesn’t propagate through the ecosystem.
Samsung revealed that the first wave of Knox Matrix devices will be launching in 2023 next year. Although the Knox Matrix platform will be exclusive to Samsung products at the start, but the company had signaled it’s intention to share this proprietary technology within it’s partners in future.