While most people know and understand the importance of securing their computers, very few extend the same principle to their mobile devices.
Your mobile device is an important part of your everyday life. It gives you access to entertainment, storage, GPS, and so much more. In return, you are expected to allow apps access to your personal data. Most people do not take the time to read the permission guidelines.
Every so often, Apple puts out a report urging iPad and iPhone users to update their devices to the latest iOS version. This is done to fix security loopholes present in the previous version. Like other OS mobile devices, iPhones, iPads, and Macs are also vulnerable to security threats.
While Apple devices have long been known to be foolproof when it comes to security threats and breaches, new and advanced security threats slowly change this narrative.
Why is mobile security important?
As the amount of sensitive information stored in mobile devices increases, it has become increasingly important to find ways to maintain the security of this data. From personal photos to phone numbers and passwords, addresses, and credit card details, all this information can be exploited by hackers when accessed.
To protect your device, you first need to learn of the most common threats in 2021.
Security Threats facing Apple users
This is a relatively new threat for apple users. Whenever you plug your iPhone into a USB port on an unsecure computer, you are usually prompted to trust the computer to access your data. Most people do not think twice before clicking on ‘agree.’ If the computer is compromised, this security vulnerability can be used to exploit iTunes Wi-Fi sync.
This allows the user to manage the device even when it is not connected to the computer. This is the most common method used to gain access to Apple devices.
Spyware is a malicious attack deployed secretly into a device to access files and data without making it obvious to the user. Some spyware programs are also meant to damage the device. It will spy on your device activities while harvesting data and sending it back to a remote server. This is how data firms, advertisers, and government agencies access personal user information. When this information gets into the wrong hands, it often leads to identity theft and financial fraud.
The man-in-the-middle attack
This is one of the most dangerous threats for apple users. The MITM attacks usually target device users who do not take any security precautions when using public Wi-Fi networks. The man in the middle hacks into the network and gains access to user devices without their knowledge. Once they are in, they can spy on the traffic from your device to all the sites you visit. They can access passwords and other user info without the user even noticing.
Grayware and phishing apps
In a standard phishing threat, cybercriminals send out emails with malicious links hoping that the recipient will click on the link. They do this by canvassing as legitimate companies to make it easy for the recipient to trust them. Phishing apps work in the same way, only that they are designed to imitate legitimate apps. Once you install these fake apps, they secretly collect user data and traffic information, including passwords, identification information, account details, and more.
On the other hand, grayware apps are not always malicious but can come with security vulnerabilities that expose users to potential threats.
In a network spoofing threat, the hacker sets up a fake access point that imitates a legitimate one. This is common in locations that offer free Wi-Fi services, including airports, cafes, hotels, and restaurants. The fake access point names are always similar to the legitimate networks, making it harder for the user to distinguish.
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Once you open your apple device to this fake network, you give the hacker access and control of your device. Using the login details you provide, the hacker can hack into your email and files.
How users can secure their Apple devices
Secure your lock screen
Whenever you receive an email or text with sensitive information, it pops up on your screen if you do not have the necessary security features activated. This information is visible to anyone close to the Apple device, even on a password-protected phone.
To prevent this, ensure you activate the feature to hide sensitive notifications. This setting can be accessed from the notifications menu on the app settings. You also need to ensure that strangers cannot access Siri on your phone by changing app-accessibility from a lock screen.
Update your operating system
Updating your iOS is one of the easiest ways to secure your apple device. Your Apple device will notify you whenever there is a new update available. Operating system updates come with security solutions for vulnerabilities in the previous version. By updating your Apple device, you protect yourself from hackers exploiting these vulnerabilities to access devices. Therefore, it is important to ensure you never miss an update.
Manage your app permissions
Whenever you grant apps permissions to access data on your phone, it is important to ensure it is essential. You can check for app permissions in your apple device from the app settings. From the menu, you can select the permissions to allow the app. You can also manage permissions under the privacy settings menu.
By managing permissions, you limit the amount of access an app has to your device, which reduces the chances of a data breach.
Activate USB restricted mode
USB restriction mode is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to your apple device. When you activate this feature, you prevent data connections with your iPad, iPod or iPhone through USB accessories. This is the best way to prevent trustjacking, thus eliminating the chance of having malware or spyware installed on the device.
Invest in a VPN
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, ensures a private and secure connection between your device and the network you are connected to. Securing your Mac with a VPN ensures all your communication online is encrypted, making it illegible to third parties. A VPN acts as a secure tunnel through which all data passes through. It is the best way to safely use public Wi-Fi networks without falling prey to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Encrypt your data during backup
Whenever you need to back up a copy of your apple device’s data, ensure you back up safely. Whenever you want to back up your iPhone or iPad, always use iTunes on your computer and ensure it is set up to encrypt the files. This will ensure your data is encrypted and allows you to create a password for the saved files.
2FA, also referred to as Two-Factor Authentication, is a data verification method and an added layer of security to your usual password security. 2FA locks out any hacker who may have your login details by making it impossible for them to get the 2FA even after bypassing the password login step.
With 2FA, a code is sent to an authenticator app or mobile device once you enter your password. Only a person with access to this code can finish logging in to the account. You can turn on 2FA on your apple device from the password & security menu under settings.
Regardless of how familiar you are with Apple data security, it is important to be proactive in securing your devices. If you are concerned about the security of your Apple devices, the tips highlighted in this article allow you to take control of your security.