Revolutionizing the Wall
iPhones are our handheld computers. Carrying all of our important information, and for some folks, even more than their computer. As Apple is known for having strict app policies, there has been little fear of the apps downloaded. The assumption is that all apps in the Apple App Store are safe. But are they?
Apple has done a tremendous job requiring strict guidelines for apps to get approved in the App Store. With over a million apps and growing, Apple App Store is bound to miss some of the workarounds that some apps have used in order to collect your information. The rise in apps and apps that abuse your rights generates the need for a new kind of protector in the App Store. One that will find those offenders and block them.
Traditionally, firewalls have for the most part, protected our computers from unwelcome visitors that likely had a bad intention. There has been nothing in place to fully protect iPhones. There are VPN services that certainly have helped in fielding certain known threats, but nothing that actively processes incoming and outgoing network packets1 to determine what traffic to block. There hasn’t been anything that can find specific patterns in the packet content and create a block for that. Customization is useful especially if trackers start hiding behind non-unique hostnames.
Not all apps have hidden spies, but they do exist and some are recognizable brands that are used everyday by almost everyone. What happens when “familiar software” isn’t completely honest with you? What if that software actually has another hidden component that it failed to disclose? And what if that hidden component is really a few lines of code that is extracting your data and sending it to a third party company for money? Now this third party company has your locations, personal health information, social media data, things you like, and more. And all of that info is being sold time and again so that it can be used for various purposes. You’re probably thinking, “but when it asked to access my location, contacts, etc, I said okay. It wouldn’t let me continue if I didn’t.” This is true, but you didn’t okay the third party to have your information, yet this third party is taking all of those data points and using them to make money on your footprint. You may feel you have nothing to hide so you don’t mind. There’s nothing wrong with that.
The point is that they aren’t giving you a choice and they should.
Today’s trend in online advertising uses tracking to watch your locations, shopping, health, activities, and more so that companies that buy ad space can directly target audiences that are more likely to purchase from their brand. Well known search engines and social media platforms track your online search history, pages you visit, and items you land on. This is then used by the ad seller as a way to categorize your data and sell ads to businesses that can reach you based off your likelihood to be interested in their product. I’m sure you’ve noticed once you’ve searched a few things online that later you see many sponsored posts about similar items in your feed or to the side of your search results. While this might make shopping easier for you, having an awareness of the information that is tracked is essential for you to be able to make informed decisions about your privacy. If you were given a choice, you might choose to deny certain requests.
Shopping in certain stores, there are beacons using your bluetooth or wifi to feed certain apps information about where you are located in the store, how long you stood on a certain aisle, etc.
Now, with Guardian, the choice is finally given to you. You can block trackers that access your location and other data. Set up is quick, easy, and painless. All you have to do is just press protect. The real time intelligent firewall means that the engineers at Guardian are constantly testing apps. This keeps the firewall up to date for any possible phishing2, malware, page hijacking3 or tracking and blocks them before you even realize they were there. This solution is the answer the iOS industry has been waiting for. Guardian makes security so simple that even mom and dad can use it.
- Network Packets - packets of data that go from the device to the recipient containing network addresses and other instructional information as well as the payload (user data information extracted from device) [return]
- Phishing - something pretending to be one thing when it is really another in order to get information from the user [return]
- Hijacking - an ad that takes over the page being viewed, forcing the user to either click on the ad’s call to action or to close the page as the only way to rid the ad [return]