The iPhone 7 hit markets for the first time in September. Many people have been looking forward to it for some time, but the new smartphone has a few security vulnerabilities that you need to be aware of.
Addressing Security Issues with the iPhone 7
Adam Mills of Gotta Be Mobile wrote a review of the iPhone 7 about a month after it hit the market. Mills interviewed a variety of experts and consumers about the new smartphone. While it was a clear improvement over the iPhone 6, it still has some problems.
These topics include a few security issues that need to be addressed. Here are some tips to ward off hackers and guard against malware.
Install iOS 10.1.1
If you are still running iOS 10.1, then you need to upgrade as soon as possible. According to Elcomsoft, a Russian forensics firm, iOS 10.1 has a number of security flaws. They estimate that 80-90% of people can hack passwords with that operating system, using tools that are available to the general public.
Many of these problems were fixed in the newer operating system, so it’s important to upgrade.
Use Touch ID When Possible
Touch ID is a much more secure and convenient way to access your iPhone. You don’t have to type in a four or six digit security code every time you want to access your device. You simply need to touch it with your fingertips.
If your device is protected with a security passcode, anyone that gets access to your code can access your phone. It is much more difficult with Touch ID. Someone would actually need to create a copy of your fingerprints with silicone gel or something similar to beat the system.
Unfortunately, there are some instances when it isn’t feasible to use Touch ID. In the middle of winter, you probably are going to want to have gloves on. Unlike the iPhone 6, the Touch ID feature on the iPhone 7 requires skin contact. You may want to disable it in the winter, but it’s a good feature to have the rest of the year.
Disable Features from Lock Screen
The iPhone 7 allows you to access Siri, Notification Center, message previews and a couple other features from your lock screen. You will want to have these disabled.
A thief could easily use Siri to access your private information. They could also see previews of texts your friends, which could be dangerous in certain situations (such as if a friend sent you an address they would like you to meet at).
Enable Erased Data
Many hackers try to use brute force attacks to bypass cell phone security. Even with a six digit alphanumeric passcode, they could eventually gain access to your phone.
It is a good idea to enable the Erase Data setting. This setting will erase all data on your phone after 10 consecutive failed attempts. If they are able to use a brute force attack to gain access, at least they won’t be able to see your personal contacts, social media accounts, banking apps or other sensitive information.
Don’t Use Jailbreak!
Jailbreaking your phone is tempting. However, it exposes you to a number of serious risks. You will need to use a very powerful anti-malware application to eliminate security risks. You are better off not using jailbreak at all.
Use a VPN
VPNs serve a number of purposes. Most people think it’s only useful to watch US Netflix anywhere, or access geo restricted content while traveling. However, there are important security benefits as well.
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All data that is passed over a VPN is very well encrypted. Most VPNs have at least 128 bit encryption, while many have 256 or better.
A VPN will also shield your real IP address, which makes it harder for a hacker to attack your phone.
Encrypt All Backup Data
You need to be careful with backup data. It is often isn’t as well protected. It is a good idea to encrypt it, because hackers usually look for the weakest link.
MacRumors has a good tutorial on this. Here is a brief excerpt from the article:
“Encrypted backups are not the default option, but for those of you who want to be able to save more comprehensive backups to your computer, we’ve created a tutorial that walks you through encrypting iTunes backups and removing that encryption.
If you back up your iOS device using iCloud, you do not have to follow any steps for encryption, as iCloud backups are automatically encrypted for you.