Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Identity and Data on Apple Devices

Dec 19, 2012 8:00am

The following is a guest blog by Vernon Irvin, President/CEO Virtual World Computing | Cocoon

As increasing amounts of personal data are held on small, mobile devices, the risk of having that data stolen is also increasing. According to The Wall Street Journal, a used iPad or iPhone can be worth more than $400.

This lucrative second-hand market has produced an explosion in “Apple picking” thieves. If those thieves break your phone passcode (or if you don’t have one), they will have access to email, social media and even banking information within minutes.

In addition to outright theft, WiFi signals provide ample opportunity for hackers to gain access to your personal information.

In fact, 67% of people access personal email; 63% access their social network accounts; 31% shop online and 24% access their bank account through wireless networks. In just a matter of minutes, a skilled hacker can gain access to these accounts without a user even realizing they have just been robbed.

Here are some of the ways to protect your identity and data on Apple devices:

1. Backup your iPhone and check the option to encrypt data.
The simplicity of iPhone is that all you have to do is connect your iPhone to iTunes and it backs up automatically. I use a Windows laptop to back up to the cloud and a Mac to backup locally, ensuring I have backed information up in two places.

2. Use a complex password and set auto-lock on your iDevice.
Strong passwords are the first roadblock against thieves and hackers.

How do I do it? Navigate to your Home Menu > General > Passcode Lock On > [enter your 4-digit passcode]  Select Turn Passcode off > [enter your 4-digit passcode] Enter Your New Passcode > Click on  Next > [Re-enter your new passcode] and click on DONE.

Also, be sure to Set Auto-Lock to ON:Settings > General > Auto-Lock > Choose 1-5 minutes. Auto-lock is not a strong security function by itself, but when combined with a strong password – it becomes part of a strong security feature.

 Passcode Lock

3. Enable Erase all data on an iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts.
If someone steals your iPhone and tries to brute force it, they will be out of luck on the tenth attempt, (when trying to break your passcode) and your phone will be wiped and returned to factory defaults. If you have backed up your information, this will still be accessible.

Go to Settings > Passcode Lock > Enter Your Passcode > Click on Done > Erase Data = ON > Enable

4. Enable “Find My iphone”. 
Download Find My iPhone from the app store or access it through iCloud. Not only will this free app locate your phone on a map, it allows you to remotely lock your phone or even erase all the data on it. 

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5. Keep your iPhone updated at all times!
Simply plug it into iTunes or download Lookout Mobile Security from the app store.

6. Download apps that come from reliable sources
Such as the iTunes Apple Store.) If your phone is jailbroken, Cydia might be the only answer. 

7. Disable Bluetooth. Only turn it on when you need it.  
Go to Settings > General > Bluetooth > Off

8. Turn off SMS preview.
This option is not critical but it can stop a thief from viewing your incoming messages!

9. Manage location settings.
Use location settings on a per-application basis only.

Go to Settings > Location Services > Turn off all unnecessary apps.

10. Secure your Internet connection.
Public Wi-Fi may appear convenient but an unsecure connection can leave you vulnerable to attack. Never allow your iPhone to automatically connect to a wi-fi network.

Go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Ask To Join Networks > OFF