If you have decided to invest your hard-earned cash in a shiny new iPhone, you’re probably eager to start diving into the special features of your new device. However, at the same time, it’s also a good idea to think about how to keep it safe – not just from external damage or theft, but from the threat of hacking.
These days, hack attacks are unfortunately more common than ever – even the short-lived UK PM, Liz Truss, reportedly fell victim to a cyber-attack on her personal phone that was so damaging, the phone was locked away due to security fears.
While the rest of us may not have state secrets lurking on our iPhones, it’s still important to try and safeguard against hacking. With that goal in mind, here are some essential tips for boosting your iPhone’s security and hopefully warding off any insidious forms of attack.
Choose strong passwords
These days, it’s no longer enough to have a password for all of your accounts and devices – those passwords also need to be ‘strong’ enough to afford a decent level of protection.
Unfortunately, because strong passwords are much more detailed, it can be difficult to remember them all, particularly if you use a different password for each account. Fortunately, there are apps and services that can both generate and store passwords for you, which saves you the burdensome task of having to recollect all those upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and – above all – those dreaded ‘special characters’.
Resist the urge to jailbreak
As the proud owner of an iPhone, you have opted to use a device designed to run apps and software created solely by Apple. Of course, some iPhone owners decide to circumvent this by doing something called ‘jailbreaking’, allowing them to install other kinds of files and apps from third-party sources. While this has its benefits, it also has a serious downside, as jailbreaking your phone makes it instantly more vulnerable to attack and infiltration by hackers.
As a result, however tempting it may be, it’s best to avoid jailbreaking and forego those tempting third-party apps to stick with purely Apple-produced software.
Check for suspicious apps
Sometimes, iPhone users may download an app that seems innocent enough but is actually a form of spyware. This is another reason why trying out third-party apps is a very bad idea, and why it’s important to monitor the apps on your phone on a regular basis to make sure a new and suspicious app hasn’t suddenly materialised.
It may sound like something from a science fiction film, but the fact is that spyware, such as the infamous Pegasus, can install itself on your iPhone and survey you without your knowledge. It monitors everything from your location, to your videos and pictures, and can even intercept phone calls – employing a terrifying level of intrusion into your privacy.
By regularly checking through your apps and making sure there is nothing untoward, you can help to protect your iPhone from various types of spyware. However, it’s important to bear in mind that, in the most insidious cases, even this level of vigilance may not be enough, as some spyware can be disguised as updates to genuine apps.
Lockdown is a loaded word for many of us these days, bringing back memories of pandemic restrictions and panic. However, when it comes to our iPhones, lockdown mode can actually be a good thing – although it’s a feature, you will probably never even have to use, it’s still good to know that you have this high-security measure to fall back on.
So, what is this lockdown mode, and when should you use it? Apple devised the lockdown mode for its iPhones and iPads in response to the rising threat of personal cyber-attacks using software such as Pegasus. These attacks can be particularly damaging if they target high-profile figures privy to sensitive information, such as politicians, lawyers, journalists, diplomats, and activists.
Don’t use public WiFi
While public Wi-Fi networks may seem like a handy convenience, the fact is that they are also more vulnerable to infiltration – which means that, if you use them, so are you.
To reduce the risk of having your iPhone’s sensitive information intercepted, it’s recommended that you use a VPN to access a public Wi-Fi network when you’re out and about. VPNs offer higher levels of security, although they are still not failproof, so it’s best to avoid logging onto any private accounts – especially your online banking account.
The threat of having your iPhone hacked is an undeniably frightening prospect. However, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to safeguard your phone against intrusion, and keep your sensitive information safe from prying eyes.
By following these helpful tips, your iPhone will hopefully remain well-protected, leaving you free to get on with enjoying its special features.