A guest post from Reprocity Labs
For a long time, the iPhone has boasted the title of being the most secure mass-produced smartphone. Since Apple has a team that is ever dedicated to the security of their devices, it reduces the chances of a data breach affecting multiple users. This is one of the reasons why companies have preferred using it as well as why it has warmed the hearts of some of its loyal users.
However, the fact that it has security measures in place doesn’t mean that it is impossible to hack. In fact, recent findings by Google warn that iPhone users might put their data at risk by visiting specific websites that are created for the sole purpose of hacking into iPhone systems. Since hackers love a challenge, this isn’t the only isolated attack aimed at bringing down the smartphone. If you are an iPhone user, or your business relies on it for its daily operations, you need to be careful with how you use it to protect your data.
Here are some insights to improve the security of your iPhone:
Use A Long Passcode
In the recent past, law-enforcement agencies were using a hacking tool called Gray Key to crack the security systems of iPhones and iPads. Ideally, Apple protects its products from brute force attacks by delaying the unlock function for one minute after six failed attempts and for five minutes after seven failed attempts. This tool could disable these delays, giving agencies ample time to work on the right password.
Although this ability of the Gray Key tool was disabled on iOS 12, it is still possible that there are other tools that can do the same, with some expected to pop up in the future. While it would take the tools a couple of minutes to unlock four-digit passcodes, it will take a couple of hours to figure out six-digit ones. The trick here is to use longer passcodes for your phone.
The passcode should be between 8-10 digits for ample security. Also, it might be wiser to use passphrases. Unlike passcodes, passphrases can include numbers and letters, and are case sensitive, making it quite tough to crack them. The downside of it taking longer to unlock your phone is only but a small price to pay for additional security. Sure, Face ID and fingerprint sensors might be secure, but remember that passwords are still a way hackers can gain access to your device.
Auto-Wipe Unknown Content
If you use the smartphone for business purposes, the chances are that sensitive corporate data is stored on the phone. In case it is only for personal use, you might still have data (like other phone numbers, your home address, and credit card details) which might easily lead to identity theft. For hackers and criminals that manage to hack your phone, this will be a gold mine.
Why not activate the erase data feature on your smartphone. The feature erases all the data on your smartphone immediately someone tries to access it for more than ten times unsuccessfully.
Sadly, it can be possible for you to be the one trying to gain access to your smartphone after forgetting the password, which means that your data will be erased after ten attempts [The time delay feature however means this isn’t easily done – Simon]. As a result, it is essential to back up your data on iCloud. In case of any incident that leads to the loss of your data, it will be easy to recover this data.
Avoid Accessing Unknown Links
As mentioned above, hackers have been trying to hack to iPhone systems for a long time, with some using websites to gain access to data. In some cases, hackers can send emails in the façade of trusted sources with the aim of stealing your valued data. Once you reply to the email or access their links, they can start reaping from their hard work.
The good thing is that identifying these malicious attacks is possible. You might notice a few mistakes or anomalies throughout an email or the specific websites. For instance, some might have spelling mistakes, while others might come out as unprofessional. Ideally, you should shy away from anything that looks amiss.
Revoke App Permissions
For you to get an optimal experience from your apps, they need to gain access to a lot on your phone, from phone contacts to your camera. Sure, this is meant to help you in our daily activities, but there is a chance that hackers could use such applications to gain access to your data. Apple has been adamant in scanning all applications to ensure that they aren’t taking advantage of user data, and any app that is doing so is immediately removed from the Apple Store.
Even better, the iOS 13 comes with additional features that make it tough for applications to gather unnecessary data from the phone’s users. However, if you are skeptical about specific applications, you should proceed to control what they have access to. Just head to Settings –> Privacy, select the specific permission you would like to revoke and switch it off for that specific application.
Activate The Find My iPhone Feature
If your iPhone falls in the wrong hands, the Find My iPhone feature can help you locate it quickly. You will only need to log into you’re your Find My iPhone account from another Apple device or a PC and locate your device. Other than enabling you to locate your phone even when it is offline, this feature helps you to erase the data remotely.
This can be quite effective in preventing hackers from gaining access to your valuable data. The iOS 13 comes with a feature that will make it easy to find an offline phone using Bluetooth beacons. Be sure to enable the feature to enjoy this benefit.
Be Careful With Wi-Fi Networks You Use
Public Wi-Fi is a gold mine for most hackers; they can easily eavesdrop on conversations and even gain access to your data. This can present an extra layer of insecurity for businesses that embrace BYOD policies but have little to no control over the type of networks their employees use. Ideally, the trick is to avoid all public Wi-Fi networks unless it is tough to do so.
If you must use public Wi-Fi networks, use a VPN to access it. It ensures that you are safe from eavesdroppers, as well as allows you to access sites that are geographically limited concerning your location. When it comes to setting up your Wi-Fi passwords, be sure to use a strong one. Also, your Wi-Fi network should be protected through WPA2 encryption.
As for businesses, the first step to completely protecting your network would be to spread awareness among employees on protecting their devices while on public networks. This can be quite effective for businesses that have embraced the BYOD way of life. You can warn them against using public Wi-Fi networks without VPNs as well as show them the best practices for protecting their own devices.
When it comes to corporate data security, start by segmenting your internal business network. This ensures that if one network is affected, you can avoid having it spread to the rest of the devices throughout your organization. Lastly, consider leveraging containerization. This will ensure that the corporate data stored on your employee’s devices don’t mix with their personal data. In case their device gets lost or is stolen, you can erase this data from these devices remotely.
Whether you are using your iPhone for work-related purposes or personal reasons, your daily practices will determine the security of your data. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to beef up your phone’s security. Consider the tips above for ample security.