If you’ve ever had your smartphone stolen, you understand the feeling of loss that comes with it. Those little boxes carry a lot of what keeps the modern human ticking on them. Some of this information may even be irretrievable. And their loss could be very painful, even potentially damaging.
What if the phone is hacked but not stolen? For the most part, the feeling of loss may not be exactly the same, but the damage could be potentially costlier.
Thankfully, with our iPhones, we’re assured of top-level security. Apple is big on security and that shows in the many layers of security put in place on Apple devices. Apple constantly pays bounty hunters and white hat hackers to find bugs and loopholes in its iOS system, which they may have missed.
Still, no security system is truly impenetrable. Indeed, even as Apple continues to tighten its security systems, these systems are only strong and effective as their user. In this guide, we cover 10 critical measures you can take to ensure your iPhone is as secure as it can possibly be.
Apple is constantly on the lookout for ways it can improve its security. As they find flaws and loopholes in their system, they release updates to address them. Sometimes, these updates are wholescale upgrades of the system – as with the latest iOS 13 release.
At other times, though, they’re minor patches to address a recently found security vulnerability. Following the release of iOS 13.0, for instance, Apple found a number of security flaws, and quickly issued a series of updates leading up to its latest iteration – iOS 13.1.3.
To check if your device is up to date, open the Settings app on your device and click ‘General’ > ‘Software Update’. If your device isn’t up to date, you’d be prompted to install the latest update on your device.
Jailbreaking your device is an attractive prospect. There are a good number of apps currently missing from the Apple ecosystem that it’ll let you access. Perfect, yeah? Unfortunately, NO!
Jailbreaking your iPhone is the surest way to grant hackers free reign over your device. It breaks through Apple’s security systems, opening up your device to malware and viruses. Little wonder Apple considers your warranty voided the moment you jailbreak your iPhone.
So, not only do you expose your device to major security threats by jailbreaking it, you also lose the ability to get Apple’s help in the event of any issues.
Having a password is critical for any device owner. No, this isn’t about whether you want to build trust in your relationship or not. Imagine your phone drops on your way to work. Would the first person to pick it up enjoy free and complete access to your digital universe? This is your emails, contact lists, personal memos, banking information, etc.
Your first task upon getting a new mobile device should be setting up a password. But your chosen password must be long and difficult to guess. Go with the six-digit option rather than the four-digit passcode. When choosing a password, go for combinations of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and even symbols. Your phone should always be locked when out of use.
If you hate to type love letters just because you want to unlock your device, don’t worry, fingerprint scanners and face recognition sensors take away the stress. With your password now active, these can be set up with minimal fuss.
Do NOT use the same password for your iCloud, phone lock, and other low-level forums and platforms. Should those low-level platforms be hacked and passwords obtained, chances are the hackers will have a go at associated iCloud accounts.
Oh, and be sure to change your passwords regularly – every 6 months at the most – to keep improve your security.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of tools like iCloud Keychain to help you generate strong, unique passwords. This tool also helps you store these passwords without you having to remember them yourself.
I know, I know… more stress! Unfortunately, passwords aren’t failproof. Your most difficult of passwords may one day be cracked. Why let intruders in when you can have them jump one more hurdle?
With 2FA, even if a hacker obtains your Apple ID and password, they’d still need you to grant them access directly. You’d receive a notification on a trusted device from which you can approve or deny the attempt. Whether your device prompts you to set up this feature or not, be sure to have it running.
To set up two-factor authentication on your iPhone, open the Settings app and tap your name in the top banner. Click ‘Password & Security’ > ‘Two-Factor Authentication’ and follow the prompt.
Okay, you really don’t intend giving your phone to thieves just so you can track it. But we never can tell what happens next, right? Right! So, plan ahead.
Find my device services help you track your phone on a map, and remotely lock it or erase it when it goes missing. This means that even if your device is stolen, your personal details and files can’t be accessed. It also helps you find and retrieve the device from wherever it is sent.
To enable Apple’s find my device service on your iPhone, go to your Settings app and tap on your name at the top of the screen > ‘iCloud’ > ‘Find My iPhone’. You may even go ahead to enable offline device
location using your Bluetooth signal for extra security.
Pro Tip: If your device is missing, log into Find My App or the iCloud website on another device or laptop, select your iPhone and select your desired action. As soon as the device gets connected to the internet, the action will be triggered. You’d also see the iPhone’s last recorded location.
A tad overdramatic that one? Maybe. But this is one rule that could save you a lot more than you even imagine. By now, the dangers of open public Wi-Fis should be well known. Hackers see free Wi-Fis as free-for-all centers and go all out to cause havoc on them.
Sometimes, this is as unassuming as using a similar name to the free Wi-Fi to lure you in. Once you’re connected to their Wi-Fis, they adopt man-in-the-middle strategies, inserting themselves between you and your traffic destination. At other times, these attacks may occur right on an unprotected public Wi-Fi.
If you find yourself in the café, shopping center, airport, or on the bus with a free Wi-Fi, run. If you must use it for any reason, be sure to connect to a Best VPN for iPhone to keep your information encrypted and secure.
For every new mobile app you have to install, you’re required to grant the app a set of permissions needed for it to run. These permissions may often appear simple: allow camera access and control, allow microphone access, allow contact access, etc.
It’s important to consider if you really want to grant this level of access to an app you don’t trust. With the latest iOS 13 update, you have even more control over what access you give and when. You can prevent apps accessing particular information when they’re not in use.
What if an app wants to track your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other data that you can’t trust them with? If you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t grant them access.
Tip: To manage app permissions on your iPhone, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Privacy’, click on any app and adjust its permissions.
In the last few years, charging stations have popped up in public places like cafes and airports. Although these really do make life more convenient, they aren’t necessarily secure. Power chords also double as data transmission cables, meaning that hackers can find their way into your personal data through them.
With your device connected to the charger, clever hackers could pair your device up to a so-called juice-jacking station and access your device at any time wirelessly without your knowledge. To be on the safe side, avoid these stations at all cost. If you must charge away from home, come with your own chargers or extra batteries so you don’t have to use them.
One of the easiest ways to attack an individual today is using clever social engineering. This means little details like your car plate number, home address, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and home town can be used to guess or even reset your password.
Keeping your device safe should be a priority in this digital age. A lot of our personal information can be found on these devices, and there’s no end to the hazardous possibilities a hack exposes us to. When it comes to keeping this device safe, though, the littlest of things go the longest way.