For those of you out there who already have your own Apple iPhone 3G/S, below are a few recommended security tips to help keep your iPhone secure.
While Apple continue to promptly fix security flaws that are found and are reported, it is still important that we all do what we can to ensure that our personal iPhone’s are secure.
Unfortunately iPhones do get lost or stolen on a regular basis, and the last thing you would want after losing your much loved phone is for someone to have full access to your email, contacts, and all your other iPhone applications which store / give access to your personal information.
Install The latest firmware updates
Unfortunately due to the popularity of the iPhone, people are starting to focus on discovering new security flaws in the device. By viewing some of the earlier articles on this website, you will see details of vulnerabilities which have been discovered (such as an SMS vulnerability), which Apple have now fixed.
By keeping your device up-to-date you can ensure you are not vulnerable to the security flaws that are discovered. Also Apple continue to add additional security related features and improve the overall security of the iPhone through new firmware releases, so it pays to keep up-to-date.
In order to update your iPhone, you will need to plug your phone into the computer which is synched with your device, so that you can download and install the latest OSX update via iTunes. Apple released version 3.1 a couple of weeks ago, which everyone should upgrade to asap.
Use the Enable “Passcode Lock” feature:
The Auto-Lock feature (Settings -> General -> Auto-Lock) only locks the screen after a preset time of not using the iPhone. The “Passcode Lock” takes this a step further, as you need to enter a four-digit code to get access to the iPhone’s home screen. This will ensure that if someone gets their hands on your iPhone, they won’t be able to access it without knowing your 4 digit passcode.
By default, the iPhone doesn’t require you to enter a pass-code to unlock it. To set a pass-code, open the following menus on the phone:
“Settings“, “General“, “Passcode Lock” and enter a 4-digit pass-code.
See the Apple support pages for more details.
Use “Erase Data” Feature
The “Erase Data” feature lets you completely wipe your iPhone after 10 failed pass-code attempts. After six failed attempts, the iPhone locks out users for a minute before another pass-code can be entered. And the device increases the lock-out time following each additional failed attempt – one minute, five minutes, 15 minutes, etc.
Its a nice feature to protect the data on your iPhone if it gets lost or stolen. However, you might want to be careful enabling this feature if you have young children who might get their hands on the phone.
“Show SMS Preview” Feature
If you have “Show SMS Preview” enabled, you will see the name of the sender and the first few words of the text message when you get the text message when iPhone’s screen is locked.
If you are concerned about privacy then you can disable it. With Show SMS Preview disabled you will only get a generic “New Text Message”.
Using Wi-Fi safely on the iPhone:
One of the best things about the iPhone is Wi-Fi support, so you can connect to hi-speed Wi-Fi whenever it is available.
To ensure that you don’t unknowingly connect to any open (unsecure) Wi-Fi networks while on the go, you should enable the iPhone’s “Ask to Join Networks” function. This is enabled by default (Settings -> Wi-Fi -> Ask to Join Networks).
The points above are just a small selection of tips relating to securing your iPhone. Unfortunately there are known ways to get around some of the security features of the iPhone, however for the average punter, most won’t know (or want to know) about these techniques and therefore the above tips will offer an adequate level of protection.
Read on if you have a Propeller head – RedSn0w or PwnageTool 3.1
Lastly for those of a technical nature who do know what “Redsn0w” and “Cydia” are please read on…
For those who have jailbroken their much loved iPhone, there’s a few things you need to consider:
The first is to ensure you change the default password of your Jailbroken iPhone, and ensure that you lock down SSH or any other transfer protocols or apps you may have installed.
e.g. normally the root password for a jailbroken phone is “alpine”, and is therefore extremely critical to change the password as if you decide to ignore the tip on connecting to only secure Wi-Fi networks and connect to an open non-secure Wi-Fi network, as it exposes you to a security risk where a person with malicious intent could get access to your iPhone using the default password without your knowledge.