Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.
No more is it enough to think that securing your iPhone with a simple 4 digit PIN is adequate.
Here, we provide some very straightforward but effective ways you can secure your iPhone, and help ensure that your private data stays available and secure.
Special thanks to Frank Hackett, security researcher at Dell SecureWorks, Nikita Caine Kronenberg organizer at DEFCON Hacking Conference, Benjamin Stark, mobile expert and founder at mobile app maker ZodTTD, and an unnamed Apple Security engineer for their help in compiling these tips.
Mind the basics
Turn off simple passwords and use auto lock
Auto backup to iCloud and use iCloud two-factor authorization
Set phone to be erased after 10 incorrect passcode entries
Apply iOS updates as they come out
Security can be greatly enhanced just by following information security basics: don’t use simple passwords, backup your data, patch, and make certain that after a certain number of failed logon attempts data on the phone is securely erased.
Turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, AirDrop when not needed
Not only are WiFi and Bluetooth battery hogs, they can be security risks. To avoid Bluetooth-based attacks, turn Bluetooth off when not in use. Turn off Wifi as well, and certainly turn off automatic association so that the iPhone doesn’t retain the settings of the associated networks that it connects.
Don’t jailbreak the phone
Jailbreaking significantly changes iOS and negates the iOS sandboxing capabilities, which enforces security barriers between apps, such as limiting apps to access only a strict subset of user data.
Consider turning off TouchID to unlock the phone
Some courts have ruled that police can compel citizens to unlock their iPhone using their biometric, but they can’t compel citizens to hand over passwords. As a result, some security experts advise using complex passwords to unlock the phone, while using TouchID for purchases and Apple Pay.
Keep an eye on privacy
Check the privacy settings on apps, and pay attention to the location services being used in apps. Be careful about what is displayed in app notifications. Are apps trying to access the microphone, photos, contacts? Shut those down that you don’t trust.
Watch what services you allow to run
Security experts also advise limiting advertising, turn off Apple diagnostic reports, go through privacy settings in regards to cookies and the cache within Mobile Safari. Clean your system and app caches often.
Also pay close attention to which apps can accessed GPS and Bluetooth and check such access levels routinely.
Make certain that you have a remote wipe capability implemented. If your phone is lost – and eventually you will lose a phone – you can wipe the data and make it inaccessible to bad guys.
Diligently manage user accounts and passwords
While it’s important not to use the same password for multiple accounts, experts advise not using the same username and password for iPhone-related accounts.
Turn off lock screen notifications
More people and services are using their phones to receive sensitive information via text, email, and within other apps. Don’t let snoops snoop and turn off lock screen notifications.
Use a VPN
Protecting data on the phone is one thing, protecting it while it traverses the networks is another. That’s what a VPN, or Virtual Private Network is for. It’s necessary to securely share information over various wireless networks. Some employers offer VPNs, and there are free and for fee VPN services available.
16 November 2023