John McAfee’s ‘hack-proof’ phone secures the hardware — but what about the software?

john mcafee hack proof phone
Digital security is a serious concern these days, and it seems like every week we hear of another vulnerability available to hackers who might want to gain access to your phone. Well folks, John McAfee thinks he has the solution, and has finally unveiled the plans for the “most hack-proof phone” ever.

The device is called the McAfee Privacy Phone, and it comes at a cost of $1,100. It was created in partnership with cybersecurity firm MGT and boasts a physical switch that allows the user to disconnect the battery, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas, the camera, and the microphone.

That $1K-plus price tag is pretty steep, but it does highlight the fact that this phone is clearly targeted at enterprise users who might not mind paying a premium for a more secure phone. It’s also important to note that turning off all the communications gear isn’t something that users are supposed to do all the time — just if circumstances call for it.

The phone also has the ability to prevent being connected to StingRay or IMSI-catcher devices that could be used to intercept calls and messages for surveillance purposes.

Of course, there’s a few problems with this approach. As a report from The Verge notes, the real problem when it comes to smartphone security isn’t hardware — it’s software. Not only that, but the McAfee Privacy Phone runs Android — so it’ll be vulnerable to all the same software hacks as other Android phones. While hackers may not be able to gain access to the phone through the communications equipment, they most certainly could through software vulnerabilities.

There’s also an issue with the fact that turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and disconnecting the camera and battery can pretty seriously hamper the user experience — and since it’s physical, anyone with access to the phone could switch the hardware features off — or on — without your knowledge.

In any case, the phone will go on sale later this year, and a version 2 is already in the works for 2018.

Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.
Mobile

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.
Wearables

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Mobile

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Mobile

Apple pushing update to iPhone in China in response to legal troubles

Apple has been facing legal issues in China due to alleged infringements of patents from Qualcomm Inc. On Friday, Apple announced it will push a software update in China in hopes of resolving any potential legal issues around the iPhone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.