Here are some tips for protecting yourself.

  1. Physical Device Security

Or, in layman’s terms, keep a good grip on your phone. Never leave your phone unattended in a public place. Avoid using your phone while boarding or leaving subway trains or buses – thieves have been known to employ the tactic of snatching a phone out of somebody’s hands and then jumping onto or off a train.

Also avoid using it if you are in a sketchy part of town, or alone at night unless you are using it as a flashlight. Keep your phone within five to six inches of you at all times, and hold it (as best you can, this can be hard with large phones and small hands) with as much of your hand around it as possible.

Turn on Find My iPhone, which allows you to locate your device and remotely wipe it. Finally, get an ultra violet pen and print your email address on the back of the handset. Reapply this every couple of months. If a good person gets hold of your phone, they can use this to identify and contact you even if your phone is locked.

  1. Keep Your Phone Locked

It can be amazingly convenient not to lock your phone. The temptation of setting a screen lock to never is high. Resist it.

You can set the time to anything from 30 seconds up. Fiddle with it until you find the right balance for you.

  1. Set a Stronger Passcode

The old standard of four-digit PINs is very easy to hack. iPhones support a passcode of any length and they support alphanumeric passcodes. This means you can set a strong password on your device. Combine this with the right lock screen length and it becomes much harder for thieves to get into your phone.

  1. Don’t Jailbreak

Jailbreaking a phone is another temptation. Whether you use iPhone or Android, jailbreaking bypasses many of the phone’s inbuilt security features.

In fact, almost all of the iPhone specific malware has attacked only jailbroken phones. It’s also easier for somebody, such as your abusive partner, to sneak a spy app on a phone which has been jailbroken.

  1. Secure your iCloud

You are probably backing up your phone to Apple’s iCloud – and if not, you should be. However, iCloud can also give a backdoor into your phone which can give a hacker access to your device, often without you knowing it. Set a strong iCloud password and change it regularly.

  1. Avoid Public WiFi

Avoid public WiFi when you can. Do not do financial transactions over it. The cell network is slightly more secure, but not much. If you do need to use public wi-fi, for example when traveling, then download a VPN client. This will protect your internet activity.

Also, make sure you are connecting to a location’s official WiFi. In a cafe, ask the barrister what it is. In an airport, check with the security desk. Some airports (airports are particularly vulnerable to fake wi-fi routers) have signs saying what network to use.

stay safe on public wifi

  1. Be Wary of Public Charging Stations

When your phone is connected to a charging station, data can be transmitted. Unfortunately, unlike Android, iPhones don’t have a Charge Only mode. Avoid using public charging stations, which could be compromised by hackers, and instead, use an open wall outlet or carry a battery pack.

Alternatively, you can get a charge only or switchable cable (which can be set to either transfer data or not), although none of them are approved by Apple. Easier to find is a “USB Condom” which you connect to the end of your cable and then to the port. These devices allow only power to pass, and can also speed up charging when connected to a computer.

  1. Disable Siri at the Lock Screen

Unless you really use Siri a lot when your phone is locked, disable her. She can and will give out some of your information to thieves.

Also disable Control Center and Notification Center, both of which can give a back door to experienced iPhone users. You might also want to disable Siri suggestions, which do things such as remind you to use your workout app.

  1. Turn Off TouchID For Apps That Don’t Need It

There have been a few scams that have abused TouchID. You think you are using it to activate a feature and in fact you’re authorizing a payment.

Apple is usually quick to get scammy apps out of the App store, but consider not activating TouchID in an app unless you really trust the developer.

  1. Update iOS Regularly

The most common reason for an operating system patch is to deal with a security issue. In the arms race between hackers and developers, you need to give the developers every advantage.

Turning on automatic updates is the easiest way to do this, but you also may want to hold off on major updates for a couple of weeks in order to protect yourself from so-called “zero hour” vulnerabilities. A major update sometimes creates security problems that then have to be patched.

  1. Consider the Nuclear Option

It’s possible on modern iPhones to set code which will wipe your device after ten incorrect passcode guesses. If you do, then make sure that you set your phone to back up to iCloud automatically, because people have been known to accidentally activate it. If you let your child play with your phone, we don’t recommend using this feature.

However, it will stop brute force attacks where computers are used to guess your password, such as the infamous Graykey.

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