The majority of individuals who own an iPhone believe their device is secure. While it’s true that Apple has included security measures to protect users from hackers, there are still loopholes and bugs. For example, a hacker can use iCloud to hack an iPhone
Yet another vulnerability is exposed when the individual uses his or her phone for online browsing. The best way to remain safe is to use every possible safeguard to protect the sensitive information stored on your iPhone from both remote and local hackers. Despite the fact the operating system is relatively safe, taking the additional security steps outlined below can prevent serious damage in the future.
VPN: Protect Your Privacy & Stay Secure
VPN is an abbreviation for a virtual private network. This technology was created specifically to ensure an encrypted and safe connection over the internet. The VPN provides extra security features, encrypts all the traffic and blocks malware for the iPhone.
The safety of the VPN is dependent on the company running the servers. If the connection is encrypted and secure, privacy and anonymity are ensured for the iPhone user. The connection is more secure than a secured Wi-Fi hotspot. One of VPNs I like best is called Surfshark. It’s one of the most secure and user-friendly VPN’
iOS Updates: Download to Get the Latest Security Patches
Downloading iOS updates ensures the latest software is being used. This will improve the security features and fix any known weak points. Apple is aware the iPhone must be protected against hackers. The downloads are specifically created to address any issues that have been revealed.
This is especially important when there has been a new iPhone released because there are almost always security patches. Make sure automatic updates are turned on and do not skip updating your operating system just because it’s a bit inconvenient.
Although with big updates (e.g. going to iOS 12 from iOS 11), you may want to wait a week or two and read the reviews to see if it’s compatible with your device.
The Passcode: Make Sure Nobody Can Get Into Your Phone
The passcode should never be less than six digits in length. Despite the fact six-digit passcodes became the default a while back, many individuals are still using either a four-digit code or no code. The longer code may be a small inconvenience, but it adds additional security to the iPhone.
There is a tremendous difference in the number of potential combinations between four digits and six. The best possible passcode is a minimum of six digits, includes both lowercase and capital letters, numbers and at least one symbol. The iPhone also offers a Custom Alphanumeric Code or a Custom Numeric Code under the settings menu.
The Emails: Verify Everything & Stay Cautious
Opening messages, links, websites and emails on your iPhone can lead to receiving scam emails and malware. Nothing should be opened unless you trust the source. Do not open messages from unknown numbers, click on unknown links in emails, unsolicited newsletters or unsecured websites.
Giving personal information such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and credit card information to an unknown, unsecured or questionable website can lead to identity theft, unauthorized debits and compromise your security. The basic rule is if you are unsure if it is safe to open something on your iPhone, it should be deleted.
It’s very important to remember this, because the amount of malicious URLs in emails has been exploding. For example, in Q1 of 2017, there has been an incomprehensible growth of 2,200% compared to Q3 of 2016 – so stay cautious.
The iCloud Apps: Protect Your Credentials
Most apps require the user to install the app directly onto the iPhone. There are some apps that work using the cloud instead. The information on the iCloud is all a hacker needs to hack into the phone. Once the hacker has the Apple password and ID, they can sign into the account to install a hacking app.
This enables the hacker to track the browser activity, phone calls, location, and messages. The hacker can access the photos, data, and videos on the device. The Apple ID password should be changed frequently and remain secret. A VPN service will also provide additional protection for the user due to the encryption.
Two-Factor Authentication: an Easy Layer of Security
One of the best ways to stop a hacker is to be aware they are attempting to break into the iPhone. Once you enable Two-Factor Authentication for your Apple ID, if anyone attempts to log into the phone the user will be able to deny or approve the attempt.
Hackers often obtain data when the user is browsing online. Numerous websites were created by hackers for the express purpose of stealing information. The protection provided by Apple is not always enough to prevent a security breach. It is important to note this feature is only available on the iOS 9 or later versions of the iPhone. It is the default setting for the iOS 11.
Public Wi-Fi: Be Cautious & Only Use When Necessary
One of the easiest ways for a hacker to bypass security is when the user is browsing the internet on a public Wi-Fi without a secure VPN. This network is not nearly as secure and should not be used to log into any accounts, pay bills or conduct any private activity.
A closed Wi-Fi network is much more secure. This type of network is generally found at homes or offices. The only way to make certain a public Wi-Fi is secure is by using a reliable VPN. The encryption is designed to prevent a hacker from accessing the iPhone.
Phony Companies: Beware of Phishing
Hackers and scammers will pretend to be companies such as Apple or PayPal. They will send fake emails that appear to have come from a genuine company. For example, the emails will inform you that your account is expiring or you have been locked out.
There will be a link in the email you will be instructed to click to remedy the situation. The URL will have a subtle difference between the actual URL of the company. Clicking on this link is literally opening the door for the hacker.
Delete the email and be careful of any email containing a link unless you are positive the link is genuine – for example, you just asked to reset your password. Phishing scams are getting more and more common, so keep your eyes open at all times.
The Final Word
The best way to ensure an iPhone is secure for online browsing is to add additional security features, take care when and where the iPhone is used and remember if something appears to be suspicious, it probably is.
Contributor Christopher Nichols is a content marketing specialist and the owner of the Strictly Digital