A phone with dual SIM capabilities can be a real advantage for people that travel a lot. Even for business people in their own country, a dual SIM can be a great way of getting two separate phones under one hood. With a dual SIM phone, people can keep their business and private calls separate (if for example business calls get paid by the boss but personal ones don’t). The result is that people don’t need to carry around two phones with them: which halves the possibility of theft or loss.
Although it is true that if a dual SIM phone gets hacked both SIMs are at risk (because they are both in the same device), with enough care people should be able to keep their device secure. In addition, the possibility of physical loss of a phone is just as much of a risk (if not more for some people).
In addition, dual SIM card phones can be great for taking out two personal contracts, in order to take advantage of a good rate on calls and texts on one and an unlimited data package on the other. For this reason, dual sim card phones are becoming more popular all the time: and certainly offer a way of getting the most out of a smartphone under various circumstances.
Dual sim and traveling
People that frequently travel abroad may want to have their regular sim and the foreign SIM in the phone at the same time. Often using a SIM from back home can be prohibitively expensive when overseas. For this reason travellers, business people, or people that live between two cities - like New York and London - may want to purchase a SIM for those two separate countries.
Traveling regularly can considerably increase the risk of theft or loss of a device. As such, having one phone to take care of outweighs the fear of both SIMs getting hacked (which is a fairly minor extra concern). After all, by having two phones - yes, only one might get hacked - but you do also have to worry about two phones possibly being hacked. Is it not better, under these circumstances, to simply look after one well?
Different dual SIM card set set-ups
Not all dual SIM card phones work the same, or offer the same functionality. Some are dual-active and some dual-standby. Dual active is by far the best as it means that the phone works as if it has one sim card in it - despite the fact that it has two.
One problem, is that there is little uniformity: on some phones 3G might be available on both SIMs and on another phone only on one. In addition, manufacturers rarely make it obvious what kind of dual sim is in a phone, so if you are planning on getting a dual SIM you should closely look at the specs of each model and check on forums and reviews to make sure you are getting the type of functionality you desire.
Finally the size of the sim cards that a phone accepts also varies, so under some circumstances you may need a sim card adapter - and these also vary in quality. With this in mind, dual SIM card phones can certainly be a blessing, but it is most certainly down to the consumer to carefully compare the market and make sure they end up with the product that they require.
Think carefully before buying a grey market dual SIM phones
Although it might be tempting (and you may well find a great phone), we generally recommend against purchasing these types of dual SIM phones. Online stores like Geekbuying and GearBest do offer bargains. However, buying your dual sim phone from one of these sites is a bit of a gamble.
Don’t get me wrong, the grey market is a perfectly legal way of getting hold of an unknown brand from elsewhere in the world. Xiaomi, Gionee, Doogee, Elephone and UMI are all examples and unlike most phones sold in the West those phones do often have dual SIM capabilities. So why think twice before purchasing one?
The problem is that when you buy a phone from one of those sites you are technically the importer yourself. For that reason, you will be liable for the import duties when it passes through customs. Whether your package is intercepted is down to luck. Sites like Geekbuying, however, do make it clear that consumers are liable for the import tax. If this happens, you will have 20 days to pay for the customs and failing to do so could result in your device being “destroyed”. If customs where you live is kinder: the phone may well get shipped back to the vendor, but you will be liable for the cost of the postage.
Smartphone security tips
Once you have bought a dual SIM smartphone, you are going to want to keep it safe. If you are using it for pleasure and business you may expose your work-SIM contacts to social engineering attacks received on social media hubs like Facebook. The risk is not particularly higher on a dual SIM phone, but because you may have more to lose you may want to take security all the more seriously. In reality, however, these security tips apply just as much to single SIM phone as they do to dual SIM phones - and you really should be following this advice on both.
● Don’t be fooled by a pretty face or an unlikely story. Sex sells and hackers know it. For this reason, social engineering attacks can often be disguised as a funny story about a celebrity on a social media news feed. Charlize Theron naked or Tom Hardy on the beach may sound tempting, but clicking on the link could put malware on your device.
The same goes for friend requests from ‘hot’ people you don’t know, those could be fake accounts designed to also fool you into taking malware. You might think this would never happen to you, but it even happened to Israeli soldiers recently (who are well known to be highly trained in cybersecurity).
● Beware of phishing scams. Phishing emails are very similar to the social engineering mentioned in the first bullet point. They are often very cleverly designed to fool their victim. Do you work in accounting and economics? Do you work in SEO? Do you work in construction? Then a phishing email could be designed to look like news to do with that industry. That is why the method is so effective. So, please be careful which emails you open, and if you don’t know the sender you may want to ignore the email (and certainly not click on the links in it).
Other scams include: fake eBay login pages. Fake online banking emails. Fake “you have won something” emails, and finally concern raising emails (for example an email that makes it seem like someone has bought something on Amazon from your account: but which really is designed to make you click due to panic). If an email makes you panic - don’t click on the links - go away and check your actual Amazon (or other) account by logging in away from your email account on the real login page.
● Beware of public WiFi hotspots. Public WiFi can be a godsend and we all like free WiFi when we are staying in a hotel or at a coffee shop. However, when you are on any shared network you are vulnerable to having your data ‘sniffed’ by other people logged into the same WiFi network. That means anybody in a hotel, or airport, could theoretically intercept your data.
In addition, skilled cybercriminals are known to set up fake WiFi hotspots in places where you expect them to be. Those hackers will call it ‘Free Airport WiFi’ or ‘Free Cafe WiFi’ to try and fool you, so please always look careful at the available options and if needs be talk to local staff to ascertain the veracity of the WiFi you are thinking about using. When you join a fake hotspot set up by a cybercriminal: they can steal all your data and passwords so using your credit card or logging into online banking could result in theft.
● Beware of fake apps. Although sometimes it might be tempting, if you are turning off the setting on your smartphone device that stops it from allowing “third party and untrusted apps”, then you could wind up in trouble. Often, untrusted apps also contain malware. In the worst cases this can result in your entire device be commandeered (and not returned unless you pay a ransom - in the case of ransomware).
Even on official app stores like Google Play Store or iTunes apps often have insecure permissions. For this reason you should check what permissions the app asks for. If it is a torch app but wants access to much more than just your device’s light, then this app should probably be avoided. Recently the Meitu app that turns photos into manga characters was found to be insecure, because of the vast list of permissions it requires. As a general rule, think to yourself: do these permissions make sense for what the app does? If they don’t - give the app a miss - or at least do some research to see if the firm is reputable.
● Make sure to use your phone’s built-in security features. This might seem obvious, but if you lose your phone, or it is stolen, then having a device lock and full disk encryption will really help to keep your data secure. At home, you might only want the screen to lock up after 5 minutes. However, when traveling it is recommended that you make it lock faster (ten or thirty seconds). By doing so, if you misplace it on public transport or in a hotel lobby your data will become secure from prying eyes more quickly. In addition, we strongly recommend using 8 digit passcodes and fingerprint scanners as these will help even more.
A VPN service - the ultimate solution
A VPN is the ultimate tool for protecting your device. It is a service that encrypts all web browsing data between a device and the VPN server. This means that no matter where you are - or what network you are on - nobody can “sniff” your traffic. With a VPN anyone can use any network they like: even a cybercriminal’s malevolent hotspot.
Unlike other people that join a public or malevolent WiFi network, using a VPN will make all of your data indecipherable with strong OpenVPN encryption: making it impossible for cybercriminals to steal your data. VPNs work so well that even governments and Internet Service Providers have zero access to your data, meaning that using a VPN you are guaranteed privacy and security.
A VPN service also allows subscribers to unblock geo-restricted sites from back home, so if you use online services: a VPN is invaluable. No matter whether you want to watch BBC iPlayer in the UK, or do online banking back in Australia, a VPN will keep you secure and unblock those websites from anywhere.
Please bear in mind, however, that not all VPNs were created equally. In fact, some are truly horrific services that are a total waste of money. Those lousy services will do very little to protect you because they provide out of date encryption and have poor privacy policies. For this reason, you should definitely get a reputable VPN that is trusted and reliable.
Historically a vanguard of desktops, VPNs have risen to the challenge of an increasingly mobile world, with more ways to download and use a VPN on any mobile device. The ease of use of these apps are integral in their implementation.