Thursday, September 17, 2015

Securing Your iPhone or iPad - iOS 9

iOS 9 has finally been released by Apple and includes a wide range of changes that boost security and privacy. Here are some settings you need to check, and change if necessary, to take advantage of these new features.

1) Update Your Passcode! 

Until now, passcodes were limited to just 4 digits. iOS 9 allows you to create passcodes up to 6 digits which is far more secure than a 4 digit code.

2) Enable TouchID 

To add an additional layer of security, enable fingerprint authentication. This can easily be done in the Settings. Make sure you have enabled the "Phone Unlock" setting.

3) Change your Hotspot Password

Though the default password is stronger in iOS 9 than it used to be, you should change the default password to a stronger one of your choosing. The default password can be found on the internet and would allow anyone who knows that password to be able to connect to your hotspot. Changing the default password is a common best practice.

4) Require Password for Every Purchase

With this enabled, you will be prompted to enter your password or TouchID for every purchase in the App Store and iTunes. This prevents unauthorized purchases and adds an additional layer of security in the event your device is lost or stolen. When you see the prompt below, choose "Always Require".

5) App Privacy

Apps have become quite good at sneaking permissions that impose on your privacy such as location tracking and information gathering. When you install an app and receive a prompt such like the one seen below, select "Don't Allow". It is common for an app to track your location in the background, even when you are not using the app. You may also want to go through your apps that are already installed and disable location tracking in them too.

6) App Permissions

When you are downloading apps, take the time to go over the permissions the app is requesting from your device. It is common for apps to request permissions they do not need and many of these permissions can be used to steal data from you such as your contacts or other private information. If an app wants any of these imposing permissions, you will see the prompt below. Always select "Don't Allow". For apps that are already installed, you can manually go through them and change the privacy settings to "Off".

7) Enable "Find My iPhone"

Time and time again, the "Find My iPhone" feature has assisted the police with locating stolen devices. If you are concerned with locating your device if it has been lost or stolen, enable this feature in your Settings. But please note, by enabling this feature you are allowing Apple to track your device. 

If you must use a mobile device, securing your mobile device is critically important. More and more attackers are targeting mobile devices and this will only increase as time goes by. Do what you can, with what you have. 

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