Four unveils no-camera, no-GPS smartphone to deter spying
UAE-born mobile brand Four introduces the K500 smartphone, designed specifically to enhance privacy
Smartphones are packed with connected features which makes it easier for cybercriminals to turn a handset into a spying device, according to UAE-based mobile phone brand, Four.
Due to the risk of mobile breaches turning smartphones into surveillance devices, Four has unveiled its K500 smartphone, designed without a camera and GPS functionality.
The idea is that this smartphone will prevent criminals from embedding ‘peeping Tom' malware, allowing hackers to collect personal images, via the device's camera and combined with GPS, images can become a real threat to personal safety and privacy, as-well-as stealing location data.
Four's founder and CEO, Faisal Al Bannai said: "There is a very real concern that your mobile phone could be hijacked by malware, photographing you, friends and family, spying inside the home or workplace.
"This can happen by downloading a seemingly innocent app onto the phone, but within the app are a series of permissions, allowing access to cameras, GPS location and so on, that transform the camera into a spy device. The app is the so-called Trojan horse that installs surveillance software onto the device, and brings intruders into your private environment."
With such intrusive malware, which so simple to create and distribute, the most effective means of protection is to ensure the devices the malware exploits do not enter secure environments. The Four K500 helps achieve this by omitting features that malware depends upon - camera and GPS - while otherwise being a full-featured smartphone.
"The K500 is tailored towards organisations that wish to absolutely eliminate the risk of being spied upon," said Al Bannai. "There is no camera, and there is no GPS, which are the two key features that allow spyware to record a physical environment. Some workplaces are requiring such devices for reasons of site security, but we believe they can also play an important role in personal safety, and can be of great value to parents concerned about the safety of their children."
With the exception of the camera and GPS functionality, it is a fully connected smartphone, with features including a quad-core processor, 3G connectivity, the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system, 1GB RAM, 8GB memory, and 1900 mAh battery. The K500 is priced at AED 299 and comes with two screen protectors and a free flip cover inside the box, along with a one-year warranty from axiom Telecom.