6 Essential steps to Secure your Apple Device

by April 14, 2016 0 comments

Tarun Kaura, Director – Product Solutions Management – APJ, Symantec

Apple devices, especially iPhones are quite a huge hit amongst Indians, leading to a surge in their popularity in recent years. According to IDC, the company now accounts for 13.5 per cent of global smartphone shipments and 7.5 per cent of global PC shipments. This increase in usage has not gone unnoticed by attackers. In fact, in the last two years, the level of Apple-related malware infections has increased. A recent report by Symantec has shown a significant upsurge in threat and risk detection on Mac OS X computers since 2014. Zero-day brokers have begun offering bounties for Apple vulnerabilities, with US$1 million paid recently for a jailbreak of iOS 9.1. While Apple as well as other security researchers are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of their platform, it’s also important for the users themselves to take the right security measures. Security of your Apple device after all, is in your own hands. Here are six things that you could do.

Never Jailbreak

When you buy an Apple device, you invest in the Apple ecosystem – the App store. This is something a few owners of Apple devices fail to understand as they opt for jailbreaking – the process of removing software restrictions imposed by Apple on its devices. The drawbacks of jailbreaking always outweigh the advantages of doing the same. First, your device will be exposed to higher risk from malware. Next it will be difficult to get updates or patches from Apple. If you don’t install security patches on your devices, you are leaving them wide open to cyber criminals who could eavesdrop on virtually everything on them that’s linked to an Apple app (Calendar, Mail, Safari, FaceTime, etc.), and even third-party apps that rely on Apple’s SSL encryption (Twitter, Facebook, banking apps, etc). Most importantly, no warranty or support will be available from Apple post jailbreaking.

Ignore pop-ups attentively

Attackers targeting a mobile operating system need to find a way to install malware on the device it’s running on, which can be a significant hurdle. Do not fall prey to ad pop-ups with enticing messages asking you to ‘click here’. If you do, this will be the easiest way to invite viruses into the system.

Use strong passwords and change them often

One of the best and easiest ways to protect your Apple device is to change your password often. Also, maintain a strong and longer password than normal. This will make it difficult for hackers to use password hacking software to access your account. In addition to changing your passwords, do not use similar passwords for multiple accounts, especially if those are important accounts or financial institutions. Reusing passwords across different sites and services is a big risk. Just as you would not use the same key to unlock your front door and your car, you should never use the same password for more than one account.

Be mindful of automatic WiFi connections

iPhones have a very good feature which allows you to automatically connect to known WiFi hotspots without your permission. There are high chances of cyber criminals establishing their fake wireless networks with the same name as a trusted public hotspot. In this scenario, you might not even recognize that your iPhone is working within the malicious WiFi network, giving away all of your data to the scammer. That’s why it is very important to be aware of every WiFi hotspot you are in or turn this option off.

Guard your contacts, photos, and messages

In recent versions of iOS, there are significant numbers of features and data types that almost any app can access: from GPS to contacts, to messages. For example, if you install a third-party keyboard you must give it full access to everything you are typing in order for you to be able to use it. If this sounds quite non-secure to you, then you have no choice but to go to “Settings” and prevent all these corporation-driven apps from accessing your data. After that, you probably won’t be able to use some of the apps that you have, but that’s a good way to secure your device.

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