Although iOS devices are considered to be relatively secure when compared with some competitors, there are still ways for someone to gain access to your sensitive data if your iPhone or iPad is incorrectly setup, or setup for convenience over security.
We’ve put together these 7 essential tips to help you secure your iOS device to make it significantly harder for someone to access your private information.
1. Use a 6 digit pass code
The process of installing spyware on an iOS device almost always requires the hacker to have physical access to the device. To ensure your device is secure, set a 6 digit pass code on your device:
Solution: Go to Settings –> Touch ID & Passcode. Tap Turn Passcode On. Enter a pass code. Enter your pass code again to confirm it.
2. Enable two-factor authentication on your iCloud account
Some companies such as mSpy and Highster offer services that can extract data from an iCloud account. Normally, the hacker would need to enter the victim’s Apple ID and password to start capturing data from the iCloud account such as text messages, call logs, photos and app data. When you set up two-step authentication, you register a trusted device that can receive 4-digit verification codes using either SMS or the Find My iPhone service. Anytime you (or a provider of spy solutions) attempt to gain access to your iCloud account, the changable 4-digit verification code is also required.
Solution: Follow Apple’s instructions for enabling two-factor authentication here: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204915
3. Disable automatic backups to iCloud
If you don’t want your data to be backed up to iCloud and would prefer to manage your backups on your computer (using iTunes) then we would recommend disabling automatic backups to iCloud using the following method:
Solution: Go to “Settings” –> “iCloud” –> “Storage” –> “Manage Storage”. Tap the name of your iOS device then “Delete Backup”. When you’re asked to confirm, choose “Turn Off & Delete” to turn off Backup and remove all backups for that iOS device from iCloud.
4. Encrypt your iTunes backups
iTunes backups contain a complete copy of the data held on your iOS device and are often overlooked as a potenrial risk of data compromise. If somebody gains access to an iTunes backup from your computer they would potentially have access to all of your call logs, text messages, app data, photos and much more. To ensure your iTunes backup is secure, encrypt it with a strong password in iTunes:
Solution: Open iTunes on your PC or Mac –> Connect your iOS device –> Go to the Summary Pane –> Tick “Encrypt iPhone Backup” –> Enter a strong password.
5. Disable Siri on the lock screen
Whilst Siri can be a useful tool to many, if configured incorrectly it can be possible for someone to extract information from your device or even make calls without needing to know your pass code. Disable access to Siri when your device is locked to protect your device:
Solution: Go to “Settings” –> “Passcode” (or “Touch ID and passcode”) –> “Allow access when locked” section –> “Siri: off” and “Settings” –> “General” –> “Siri” –> “Allow “Hey Siri”: off”.
6. Disable auto-join to known Wi-Fi Networks
With the introduction of such hardware as the WiFi Pineapple it has become very easy for hackers to imitate WiFi networks and capture the data transmitted by any victims connected to their Pineapple WiFi Hotspot. By default, iOS devices are configured to automatically join any WiFi network with the same name (SSID) as one previously connected to. For example, if you have ever connected to a free Hotspot, such as Starbucks or McDonalds, a hacker could configure his malicious WiFi hotspot to masquerade as that network. Your iPhone will see this network and automatically connect and start sending data. Fortunately, there is a way to protect yourself from this type of attack:
Solution: Go to “Settings” –> “Wi-Fi” –> “Ask to join networks: on”
7. Keep iOS Up-to-date
Most iOS spyware requires the device to be Jailbroken (the process of removing restrictions on an Apple device to allow the installation of third-party applications, such as spyware) in order for it to function. Ensuring your iOS version is always up-to-date is the best way to protect your device from spyware that requires your device to be Jailbroken, as updating your iOS version will cause any Jailbreak and associated spyware to stop working.
Solution: Go to “Settings” –> “General” –> “Software Update” and update to the latest version.
If you are concerned your device has been compromised, perform a spyware scan with Certo AntiSpy: