Before the release of smartphones, cybercriminals primarily targeted desktop computers and laptops. But now they can target their attacks on almost any system or device. This has brought about concerns as to whether mobile operating systems such as iOS are secure.
Users are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices for regular day-to-day activities such as booking appointments, making purchases, connecting with friends, and banking. However, very few think about security as a determining factor when making a phone purchase.
If security is a major concern for you, then iOS is your best bet. The operating system is less flexible and has more stringent controls than Android. However, this doesn’t mean that iOS is not vulnerable to attacks. You can improve iPhone security by following these tips:
1. Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication was introduced in 2015 as an extra layer of protection for Apple ID accounts. Once activated, it allows you to log into your Apple ID accounts via trusted devices. Anytime you log into the account using a new device, 2FA will send a 6-digit verification code to your trusted devices.
2FA will also display a map with the location where the login attempt occurred.
2. Revoke app permissions
Installing new apps often comes with security vulnerabilities known as app permissions. Apps typically request for access to certain aspects of your phone to function at optimal capacity. Some of the apps have access to your location services, social media accounts, phones microphone, camera roll, contacts, calendar, and camera.
Apps that have access to your location services can track your movements, monitor patterns, and pinpoint where you live. Fortunately, iOS 13 has a few features that help limit the kind of information apps can gather. You can allow an app continuous access to your location services or limit access to one time.
However, the safest approach is to revoke permissions, especially for apps that are not
3. Uninstall dormant apps
Although iPhones tend to have bigger storage, it's not advisable to keep dormant apps. If you are not using an app, uninstall it, and if you ever need it again, you simply install it. Having more apps on your phone means more access and increased vulnerabilities.
4. Don’t open unknown links
Links pose a huge threat to systems such as iOS. Hackers can gain access to your phone by sending you a malicious link. It could be via email, iMessage, WhatsApp, or any other platform. Hackers try to make the message authentic and alluring.
AVOID opening any unknown links or downloading attachments. Hackers are persistent and will keep sending the alluring emails hoping that you'll slip up. Be cautious because a single slip up could open you up to a lot of vulnerabilities. It could be malware, identity theft, or fraud.
5. Be wary of fake apps
Fake apps are becoming increasingly rampant. It’s also becoming harder to differentiate fake and legitimate apps. It’s not rare to find both the legitimate app and the fake app on the same app store. Hackers are using this trick to collect personal data. You can avoid such scams by downloading your apps from the official website.
6. Auto-wipe content
While no one wants to lose their data, auto-wipe could be a viable option when someone tries to gain unauthorized access to your phone. Think of it as your insurance policy in case you lose your phone. Any time someone makes 10 incorrect password attempts with the erase feature active, the phone will wipe itself clean, making it useless to a hacker.
However, its efficiency is worrying since the same could happen with your kids, partners, or even you. Your partner could be trying to snoop on your phone and accidentally activate the feature. You could be drunk and accidentally activate the erase data feature.
Fortunately, you can mitigate the data loss by activating automatic iCloud backup. This will ensure that you have a backup in case you lose your phone or activate erase data.
7. Avoid sideloading apps or jailbreaking
While it’s tempting to jailbreak iOS to lift limitations imposed by the manufacturer, it comprises iPhone security. iOS is a secure system, but when you jailbreak your iPhone, you simply handing hackers keys to your castle. Applications can request root access, install malware, or fill your phone with bugs that constantly crash your phone.
For example, in 2015, a jailbreak malware stole over 225,000 Apple IDs, App Store purchase information, and private keys. Some of the phones were locked while others were held for ransom.
Also, don’t download apps from sources other than the App Store. Apple is strict on security, which means that apps on the App Store have to conform to set security standards. Apps from other sources may not have the same regulations. Downloading apps from these sources could open you up to malware.