Alerts you to unsecure Wi-Fi networks, unsafe apps in Android, system tampering & more
Helps you protect your phone and your privacy
$0 to download, $0 to use, no in-app purchases, no ads
Free to download, free to use, no in-app purchases, no ads
Alerts you to invisible cyber threats
Protects you without knowing anything about you
Lets you decide what action to take to help protect yourself
Threat detection every New Yorker deserves
The NYC Secure app is a free, New York City-funded mobile app that will alert you if your mobile device or tablet encounters threats such as a potentially unsecure Wi-Fi network and will offer recommendations on how to address the threats. The app was designed with your privacy at the forefront. No information about you leaves the device. A third-party firm conducted a thorough review of the source code
Yes, the NYC Secure app is funded by the City of New York, so it is completely free. It is free to download and free to use. There are no monthly charges and no in-app purchases required. There will be no charge for any updates or upgrades, and it does not have any ads.
The app detects potential threats in real time to your device, to Wi-Fi networks you may connect to, and for Android users, it detects whether any app you’ve downloaded might be unsafe. When the app detects a threat, it will send you an alert in real time and offer a recommendation on how to address the threat, such as suggesting you disconnect from a particular Wi-Fi network. These alerts include: Device alerts—These alerts warn you about settings or activity that could potentially put your device at risk. Network alerts—These alerts warn you about potentially compromised networks you are connected to. App alerts (Android only)—These alerts warn you when issues arise on apps you have installed that could compromise your device's security.
The NYC Secure app was developed by United States-based Zimperium, Inc. Zimperium is a global leader in mobile security, offering real-time, on-device protection against both known and unknown Android and iOS threats.
NONE! The app was designed with privacy at the forefront. You will not be asked to provide any information about yourself to download the app. Nothing about you or your activity ever leaves the device.
The app developer and New York City cannot see or have access to any personally identifiable information, including location, IMEI, device serial number, phone number, text messages, pictures, emails, or any other information on your phone. The app developer will see: - A device ID (an anonymized, randomly generated number that can only identify how many people at any given time have downloaded the app) - The device type (meaning is it an iOS or Android device), and the NYC Secure app version.
Approximately 75 MB to 80 MB
Android: Install/Setup= 14 MB to 16 MB Daily Usage = 4 MB to 6 MB iOS Install/Setup = 7 MB to 9 MB Daily Usage = 3 MB to 5 MB
iPhones with iOS v9.0 and above or later
Android devices with Android v4.4 and above or later
No, you can use the NYC Secure app without a Wi-Fi connection
When an iOS device is jailbroken, or an Android device is rooted, malicious processes can gain unauthorized access or elevated privileges that allow them to take full control of the device, compromising the security of the device. If your device is jailbroken/rooted, it is recommended that (i) you back up any sensitive data, (ii) restore the device to the original factory settings via device settings, and (iii) subsequently update the device to the latest device software via device settings or by visiting the device manufacturer’s website or by contacting the device manufacturer’s customer support center. For example, for iOS devices, visit Apple’s official website; for Google’s Nexus/Pixel devices, visit Google’s official website; and for Samsung devices, visit Samsung’s official website.
An elevation-of-privileges alert is reported when a malicious process running as the user elevates to root on the device and gains an escalation of privileges (e.g., the user installed an app from a third-party store that executed an exploit and gained root privileges on the device). Through an elevation-of-privileges attack, the attacker essentially offers someone other than you the keys to the castle. The attack tricks the device OS into thinking that the attacker has legitimate administrative privileges, compromising the security of the device. If you receive an elevation-of-privileges alert, it is recommended that (i) you back up any sensitive data, (ii) restore the device to the original factory settings via device settings, and (iii) subsequently update the device to the latest device software via device settings or by visiting the device manufacturer’s website or by contacting the device manufacturer’s customer support center. For example, for iOS devices, visit Apple’s official website; for Google’s Nexus/Pixel devices, visit Google’s official website; and for Samsung devices, visit Samsung’s official website.
A network threat is triggered when the device is connected to a rogue access point. An alert informs you that there may be an issue with a Wi-Fi network that you might be inclined to trust, so you can disconnect and take other precautionary actions. An attacker uses a rogue access point that can exploit a device vulnerability to connect to a previously known Wi-Fi network. Users will see previously connected wireless networks as available (e.g., a home wireless network showing as available at an unexpected location), or the device will automatically connect to one. If an attacker installs a rogue access point, the attacker is able to run various types of vulnerability scanners, and rather than having to be physically inside the organization, can attack remotely—perhaps from a reception area, adjacent building, car park, or with a high-gain antenna, even from several miles away. In the event a rogue access point network threat is reported, we would recommend disconnecting from the wireless network immediately, switching to a secure network, and changing the passwords of any online services accessed when connected to the rogue access point.
SSL strip alert means that the webpages you are viewing may not be secure. For example, an attack will force users to visit webpages in HTTP instead of HTTPS. This will help an attacker to intercept the usernames and passwords in clear text. A network threat is reported if an attacker performs an SSL strip attack via a rogue or compromised access point. In the event an SSL strip network threat is reported, we would recommend disconnecting from the wireless network immediately and changing the passwords of the online services accessed when connected to the network.
It is possible to download from a legitimate source an app that is unsafe or deliberately designed to infect users’ devices. A device threat is reported when you attempt to install a malicious app. If a malicious app is preinstalled on the device, then the malicious app will be detected after a complete device scan. In the event a suspicious Android app threat detection is reported, delete the downloaded file or uninstall the detected Android app.
System tampering is the process of removing security limitations enforced by the device manufacturer. As a result, the device is fully compromised and can no longer be trusted. For example, system tampering is detected when an end user roots an Android device or jailbreaks an iOS device. With a system tampering threat alert, it is recommended that (i) you back up any sensitive data, (ii) restore the device to the original factory settings via device settings, and (iii) subsequently update the device to the latest device software via device settings or by visiting the device manufacturer’s website or by contacting the device manufacturer’s customer support center. For example, for iOS devices, visit Apple’s official website; for Google’s Nexus/Pixel devices, visit Google’s official website; and for Samsung devices, visit Samsung’s official website.
Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a security feature in the operating system that helps maintain the integrity of the operating system via an implementation of a mandatory access control mechanism. If SELinux has been disabled, the integrity of the operating system may be compromised and should be addressed immediately. When a “SELinux is disabled” device threat is observed, it is recommended that you back up any sensitive data, restore the device to the original factory settings via device settings, and subsequently update the device to the latest device software via device settings or by visiting the device manufacturer’s website. For example, for iOS devices, visit Apple’s official website; for Google’s Nexus/Pixel devices, visit Google’s official website; and for Samsung devices, visit Samsung’s official website.
Most users of unsecure Wi-Fi networks assume that online activity is protected, but most publicly available Wi-Fi networks lack adequate security protections for users. The City of New York wants to help you mitigate the risks of using public/open Wi-Fi networks. A network threat is reported when the device is connected to an open/public wireless network that doesn’t require a wireless encryption (e.g., WPA, WPA2) password. Connecting to an unsecured network exposes your phone and the information you transmit to a potential attack by an unauthorized party. When an unsecured Wi-Fi network threat is detected, it is recommended that you disconnect and switch to a secure network with encryption capabilities that will prompt you for a password.
Developer Options is an advanced configuration option intended for development purposes only. Activating this feature makes your device vulnerable to attacks. When enabled, the user has the option to change advanced settings, compromising the integrity of the device settings. In the event you observe a “Developer Options enabled” device threat, we recommend disabling the Developer Options via device settings.
A device threat event is reported when the data encryption on the device is not enabled. Device encryption is enabled by default on Android 6 and above. Device encryption is disabled on older Android versions. In the event an “encryption not enabled” device threat is observed, we recommend enabling device encryption via device settings. On iOS, turning on a PIN or password will enable device encryption. On Android, it’s under Settings...Security...Encrypt Device.
A device threat is reported when the device is not set up to use a PIN and/or password—the first line of defense for your phone. If you receive this alert it is because you have not established a PIN and you most certainly should to control access to the device. On iOS devices, this is also used as a seed to encrypt the device data. If such a device threat is reported, it is highly recommended that you set up a PIN/access code via device settings.
In a Stagefright attack, an attacker sends a link or an MMS to an end user. Opening the link will exploit the media server-related vulnerabilities on the device. This will help an attacker get remote code execution privileges on the user device. A Stagefright vulnerability detection event will let us know if the device is vulnerable to Stagefright attack by looking into the OS version and patch level. A Stagefright vulnerability threat means your current OS version has critical security risks. A Stagefright vulnerability can be addressed by updating your device to the latest operating system. If this alert is observed on a device that does not allow you to be on the latest OS version, it is recommended that you replace the device.
App stores make a concerted effort to vet apps before they are available for download. Allowing the installation of apps from unknown sources is a bad idea. A device threat is reported when the user allows installation of apps from unknown sources (i.e., non-Google Play store apps). Google puts apps through security checks before they are uploaded to the Google store. The device is therefore at risk from malicious apps that do not go through security checks. It is recommended that you disable the “download apps from unknown sources” options in the device settings.
By enabling this setting, you open your phone up to a host of security issues. USB debugging is an advanced configuration intended for development purposes. By enabling USB debugging, a device can be accessed and controlled by someone other than you, accept commands, files, etc., from a computer when plugged into a USB connection, and allows the PC to pull crucial information like log files from the device. The device is put at risk when, for example, you need to plug your phone into an unfamiliar USB port—like a public charging station. In theory, if someone had access to the charging station, that person could use USB debugging to effectively steal private information from the device or push some sort of malware onto it. It is recommended that you disable USB debugging mode via device settings.
While mobile phones do provide some security features like PINs and lock codes, most do not come with security software to detect threats or vulnerabilities. Your mobile phone has many entry points that need to be protected, such as your camera, access to apps, and your location information. The NYC Secure app provides critical information and directions on what to do if your phone is at risk of compromise.
The NYC Secure app uses only the necessary information points from your device to monitor threats— none of the information is linked to you, and no information leaves the device.
Security for your mobile device through better privacy protections inspired this app. The app was engineered with a privacy-first approach to offer as much protection as possible while using no identifying information about you to function and with no information about you or your activity ever leaving the device.
The app does not require an internet connection to detect a threat, so alerts are immediate.
This app is designed to help you preserve personal privacy AND offer mobile security—a coupling that did not previously exist in the marketplace.
For additional questions or information please email us at NYCSecure@cyber.nyc.gov