iPhones are units with a perceived high level of security when compared to other smartphone operating systems (read: Android) on the market. While this may be true due to the sheer number of ways the Cupertino-based company cuts back on external interference, nothing is invincible.
This is not meant to scare you aware from the iOS platform (which is awesomely robust, might we add) but let you know that you need to take your data privacy and security seriously.
Why should you care?
This is a very valid question.
After all, you have been using your units since God-knows-when and you are perfectly fine, right? Well, research and facts don’t agree with you: no less than 6,466,440 records are breached globally on a daily basis, and you are at a 27.9% risk of experiencing one yourself.
There are a lot of ways these attacks come in too. They could be from that last email you opened which wouldn’t be surprising since 93% of mobile attacks are phishing scams. It could even be that app you loaded – and you don’t need to load from outside the App Store to get infected.
In short, there are a lot of bugs and vulnerabilities you could fall to.
But then, again, why should you care?
Imagine someone got access to your bank account details and wiped out all the funds you had there. Imagine getting home to see someone had hacked into your social media account to solicit money from friends or posted something damaging to your person and career.
Imagine if someone had access to all the pictures on your phone, and they leaked some pretty personal ones. Just imagine!
Now that we have your attention…
Here’s How to Keep Your Data Safe and Privacy Intact
One thing we love about iOS is that it is already built around a secure architecture, giving you the ideal basis to develop on. If you want that security profile to stand, though, here are some things you should do:
1 Update your apps regularly
When app update notifications come your way, they are not just to improve the outlook of the app or simply add a new feature.
Sometimes, they are there for such purposes, but other times, they are not. In fact, most of the time when you get an app update notification, it is because the developer noticed a vulnerability in that app that they deemed important enough to be fixed. The update is, thus, a patch sent to plug the leak before someone uses it as a backdoor into your device.
2 Update your software
While app updates address just a single piece of the program, a software update affects everything system wide. Knowing how vulnerabilities work from #1 above, updating your apps won’t help you if there is a bug in the system itself.
We recommend keeping an eye out for update notifications and getting them as soon as they show up on your unit. If you take the time to look through the changelog on that update, you will most likely find out that it comes with bug fixes, among other things.
A notable example here is when Apple found out a bug in their iOS allowed Police to hack the device when connected through the USB. They released an update to that problem almost immediately, blocking out the attempts of that tool and similar ones.
3 Restrict USB on lockdown
One of the ways to hack your phone on-site is by connecting it to a computer. The only way around this is to hope that the hacker can’t get into your unit once they have it connected lest they manipulate the software to do their bidding.
The good news is, you don’t have to hope anymore.
Apple introduced a feature in their iOS which makes it impossible to access any USB functions when the phone is on lockdown. That means the hacker would have to unlock the phone first before they can do anything other than charge the device.
4 Set a strong password
Many people often fail to remember how important a strong password is for their unit. You could be protected against the worst remote attacks but with a weak password, you are susceptible to stronger attacks from anyone who could simply guess it and waltz into your device.
As a rule:
- Never set your password to something that could be easily identified about you
- Avoid short passwords. The longer your password, the harder it is to crack.
- Mix uppercase and lowercase alphabets, numbers, and symbols into your password
- Don’t reveal your password to anyone. If it gets compromised, change it immediately
- Never use the same password for more than one account.
5 Install specialist software
There are specialist pieces of software that are specially designed to make your online and offline security a priority. Two of those that we recommend every time are VPNs and antivirus software.
If you are one of those who thought these two handled the same tasks, know that is not true.
On the one hand, antivirus software helps protect and warn you against malware that could be incoming into your device. This means you now have warnings when approaching fishy websites and before opening suspicious documents in your emails.
That will save you a ton of headache and personal data loss in the long run. Likewise, an antivirus helps run scans on your unit to ensure you have not installed or received any file/ app/ program which could hurt system performance/ data/ privacy.
A VPN specially programmed for your iOS device, on the other hand, keeps you safe when you are browsing the internet. For one, they obfuscate your internet data so much, anyone tracking it will get lost in the pool of servers they will have to bounce through.
Speaking of servers, VPNs also make it impossible for anyone looking in on your data to determine the location (IP address) of your computer, thwarting their plans even further.
This becomes more important when you are browsing the web on unsecured networks such as a public Wi-Fi connection.
Staying safe starts with you
In the internet security game, ignorance is no excuse at all. While your device manufacturer has put safeguards in place to ensure your safety, it is your job to put up fail-safes so that the safeguards keep working to their best.