Internet security is constantly in the news. Unfortunately, criminals will be with us for some time to come. Any device that accesses the Internet is at risk. Smartphones now constantly access the Internet and they are exposed to the same risks as desktops, tablets and laptops. Motor cars are fast becoming a popular topic of security conversations.
Some think that traditional computer security concerns are not really issues for smartphones. This may turn out to be a dangerous assumption when you wake up one beautiful morning and find that your iPhone has been hacked, or disappeared while you were answering a nature’s call at the office. There have been instances of malware that can steal data from iOS devices, penetrate iOS security via a USB device. There have also been cases where forensics experts pulled data from locked iPhones.
Apple have said that iOS devices are “inherently secure”. In Apple’s favor, devices have unique hardware, firmware, and software architecture that supports data encryption. Touch ID and Find My iPhone are some of the built-in features that safeguard against most security attacks.
Where to start
At the highest level, the types of security measures you should consider for your iPhone are theft prevention (and managing the consequences), passcode setting and data security. There are tools available that enable you to find a stolen phone, such as the device tracking offered by “Lookout” and “Find my iPhone”. Passcode or password setting prevents anyone else from opening applications on your phone, or using it to make calls. Data encryption applications such as “Best Phone Security Pro” prevent unwanted access to your personal data, by using methods that include data encryption.
There are additional security applications to be found if you are looking for something to address a particular security need. At some point Apple decided to withdraw many antivirus and anti-malware apps from their App Store and this may have left some people wondering whether the company was protecting users from misleading apps and junk or leaving devices open to malicious software. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of security-related iPhone applications available in the App Store and it can be a challenge to find the right solution for a given security issue. Most of them are third-party apps that cover a wide range of functionality, including managing your passwords on the device and implementing additional protection for sensitive files.
If you are particularly concerned with virus protection, traditional antivirus software providers such as Trend Micro (“Mobile Security”) detects malicious and fraudulent websites vying for your sensitive data, as well as apps that overstep their boundaries in terms of accessing functions and data on your iPhone.
Whether security measures and encryption of data serve the purposes of law enforcement is a tricky debate, especially in the United States. Let us hope that we can strike a healthy, secure balance between protecting ourselves and keeping our private lives away from Big Brother.