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Ask Slashdot: How To Safely Use Older Android Phones?

Aug 10

An anonymous reader writes: Like many people reading this site, I have several older phones around as well as my newest, fanciest one; I have a minimal service plan on one of these (my next-to-most-recent), and no service plan (only WI-Fi, as available) on the others. Most of them have some reason or other that I like them, so even without service I’ve kept them around to act as micro-tablets. Some have a better in-built camera than my current phone, despite being older; some are nice on occasion for being small and pocketable; I like to use one as a GPS in the car without dedicating my phone to that purpose; I can let my young relatives use an older one as a camera, etc. Besides, some people have only one phone at all, and can’t reasonably afford a new one — and that probably means a phone that’s not cutting edge. So: in light of the several recent Android vulnerabilities that have come to light, and no reason to think they’re the last of these, what’s a smart way to use older Android phones? Is CyanoGen Mod any less vulnerable? Should I be worried that old personally identifying information from online transactions is still hanging around somewhere in the phone’s recesses? I don’t want to toss still-useful hardware, but I know I won’t be getting any OS upgrades to 3-year-old phones. How do you use older phones that are not going to get OTA updates to address every security issue?


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