I’m talking about a class of
old mobile phones that are not smartphones but are still (theoretically) Internet-capable, at least via 3G. Examples of such phones include Series 40 Nokia phones or the Samsung phone featured in Spectre (OK that one at least is still available so I have to retract the ‘old’ word). Note these phones enable running user code via their Java thingy. Symbian phones, however, are out of the scope of my question.
Note I don’t ask about browsing the Internet with such phones – these capabilities are, in my experience, often all but useless nowadays anyway. Instead, I mean carrying the phone around while it is switched on and making phone calls.
Until recently I assumed these phones were too simple and too old to be unsafe… But is this really correct? It suddenly struck me that these phones are likely directly routable from the Internet through an IPv4 address – which sounds pretty horrible, doesn’t it? Aren’t these phones, therefore, under a constant scan? To make things worse, many of such phones are very unlikely to receive updates (are they even technically capable of updating themselves?)
In short – one may not wish to use the internet with their phone – but will the internet forget about them?
This question asks about dumbphones. My question asks about phones that are in-between of dumbphones and smartphones – that already provide attack vectors (Internet, user code, …?) but not precautions (updates, app scanning, …?) of smartphones. It would therefore seem that such phones are the worst?
And yet there is, from my experience, noticeable demand for these in-between phones: namely from older people who seek the ease of use of a dumbphone, fear they could not manage to use a smartphone but won’t use a true dumbphone because of their diminished availability. This, I believe, makes my question important.
Little bonus that made me ask this Q – some time ago my old Series 40 Nokia phone started showing me a weird message briefly each time I switched it on. The message was saying (IIRC) that my phone was sending some message. What message? Where? I remember seeing this message quite often during my country vacation, but now I switched this phone off and on again, hoping to provoke this message, but it is gone. I suppose this is benign?