Wednesday 19 October 2016

Tips to keep your iPhone secure from hackers


We are are more or less aware that Apple uses strong encryption for its iPhone products. However are there chances to your iPhone being hacked.

This useful tips has been published by MacWorld UK to keep your iPhone secure:

1. Keep iOS up to date

First tip on securing your iPhone against potential hackers is a fairly simple one - make sure that you're always running the most recent iteration of iOS, including smaller 'dot' updates. Hackers occasionally find flaws in Apple's coding which they can exploit, potentially giving them access to your personal data. New iOS updates are Apple's way of combatting the exploits by patching any holes in the OS while implementing better stability enhancements.

To update to the latest version of iOS, open the Settings app and tap General > Software update. You'll either be welcomed by a note letting you know you're already running the most up to date version of iOS, or be prompted to download and install the latest update.

Update 5 September: With the release of iOS 9.3.5, Apple addressed the mobile threat labelled as 'Trident', a vulnerability found in iOS 9 that can be used to record and read texts, emails and calls. It's always worth updating to the latest iOS to take advantage of newly added security patches and fixes. iOS has now moved on to iOS 10.

2. Activate Find my iPhone

The next suggestion may seem slightly random at a glance - but trust us, there's method to the madness. Another step you can take in the war against hackers attacking your iPhone is to activate 'Find my iPhone'. The app was originally optional, but with the introduction of iOS 9 Apple made it a default app that can't be deleted. But why will activating Find my Friends help protect your device against hackers?

Simply put, if you loose your iPhone then you can log onto Find My iPhone from another iOS device or via the web and remotely wipe your device, taking your personal data with it. This means that even if the hacker did manage to gain access to your lost/stolen device, they'd find nothing. To remotely wipe your iPhone, log in to the Find my iPhone app (or iCloud website), select your iPhone, tap 'Erase iPhone' and confirm the action. The next time it has an internet connection (if it doesn't already) it'll automatically wipe itself.

3. Create a longer passcode

We all know and love the 4-digit pin protection that Apple employs, but the one in 10,000 chance of someone guessing your pin correctly the first time may be worrying for some users - especially those with sensitive and private data stored on their iPhones. While you can up the passcode to six digits in iOS 9, that may still not be enough to deter hackers.

What can you do instead? Use a passphrase instead. While passcodes only use numbers 0-9, a passphrase includes numbers, letters, symbols and case-sensitivity which should make your iPhone a lot harder to break into - although it may take a little longer to unlock your iPhone when you want to use it. To change from pin to passphrase, open the Settings app and go to General > Touch ID and Passcode > Change Passcode, tap 'Passcode options' and select 'Custom Alphanumeric Code'. You should then be prompted to create a more complex password comprised of not only numbers, but letters, symbols too.

4. Avoid opening unknown links

This one is fairly self-explanatory - if you receive an unknown link via text, email or randomly on the web, don't click on it. This could potentially pose a threat to your device and even though it may not be able to hack your iPhone directly, some pose as popular email clients like Gmail to gain access to your email account. The pages usually look pretty close to the real thing, so this type of scam is fairly common and it always pays to keep your wits about you.

The general rule is that if you don't trust the look of the email/message then just don't bother opening it. The same goes for email attachments too, although there aren't many (if any at all) cases where hackers have been able to gain access to an iPhone via this method, and this is more of a general tip.

5. Revoke app permissions

The next step to take in the war against hackers is to revoke access to apps. When you use iOS apps you'll often be prompted to allow the app to access things like the camera, microphone, contacts, etc to use the app to the fullest extent. Even though allowing access means you can use every feature of the app, the app may also be able to access your private information.

Don't get us wrong - this is against Apple's privacy policy and any apps found collecting personally identifiable information will be removed, and as far as we know this hasn't happened so far, but it is a possibility. Either way, if you feel like you've installed a less-than-reputable app on your iPhone, you can either delete it or head to Settings > Privacy, select the permission you'd like to revoke and toggle the application off - sadly this has to be done on a per-permission basis as there's no way to toggle permissions off all at once.

6. Turn off Siri

Apple's personal assistant, Siri, is a great feature of iOS and provides users with a way of using their smartphone hands-free. However, no matter how helpful Siri may be to users, it can also provide hackers with personal data. Yes, Siri will often ask for some kind of verification before allowing access to contacts, photos and other types of sensitive information. However, there have been multiple occasions where people have found workarounds completely bypassing the iPhone passcode and providing easy access to the device.

To disable access to Siri on the lock screen, simply head to Settings > Touch ID and Passcode and toggle the "allow access when locked" option off.

7. Turn off auto-fill

The same can be said about Apple's auto-fill feature in Safari. Apple's Keychain stores website logins, prompting users to save the information after successfully logging into their account. It's a hugely handy feature as it means we don't have to remember the login information for the myriad of websites we browse - and the same goes for credit/debit card information. Simply tap a button and Apple will fill out all your credit/debit card information, apart from your security code.

However, if a hacker does manage to gain access to your iPhone, it provides them with access to all your online logins. To disable keychain and auto-fill, simply go to Settings > Safari > AutoFill and toggle off each option.

To find out more about please visit MacWorld UK



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