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Apple’s iOS 9 Shines The Spotlight On Security

It’s another year and another shiny new iOS for all to enjoy! Apple hits the mark on all the usual exciting, fun enhancements such as a more intelligent Siri, and those new Emojis we’ve all been waiting for. However, after a few privacy mishaps last year, such as the iCloud photo breach, an iCloud password vulnerability, and the more recent keyraider malware, Apple took notice and significantly upped their security game.

Private Means Private!

iOS 9 will not tie any usage data to an Apple ID or any other Apple service. The data is now completely anonymized, and Apple states that they will never give that data to third parties, ever.

Powerful Passcodes

Passwords are the keys to our digital kingdoms, and Apple has installed a deadbolt in our digital front door. By default, Apple has upped the standard passcode from four characters to six. By adding two digits to the passcode, this now means that cracking a password can now take days instead of a few hours.

Two-Factor Authentication

Apple has now built in two-factor authentication (2FA) into the operating system. 2FA is an extra layer of security that is added to your username and password. When you sign in with your iCloud or Apple ID on a new device, you will be required to also supply a verification code. That verification code is sent to a trusted device that is already registered to your account, such as a computer, iPad or iPhone. Once you enter in the verification code, the new device is now approved to access the account. To learn more about Apple’s 2FA, you can read their support article.

How To Prepare For iOS 9

Whether you’re upgrading your existing phone to iOS 9, or getting a shiny new iPhone 6s right out of the box, there are still some things you should be on the lookout for, privacy-wise when setting up your new OS:

  • Power-Up Your Password- Use a strong, secure password to your iCloud account. This account is probably the most important on your device, as it is tied to Apple services and features that also include credit card data.
  • Enable Touch ID Fingerprint Recognition- The latest iPhone models (5S and up) now include a fingerprint reader, which allows you to use your fingerprints for unlocking your device and making purchases in iTunes, the App Store, and Apple Pay.  If Touch ID isn’t available on your phone, be sure to set a strong passcode. It’s also a good idea to choose to erase your device automatically after ten failed passcode attempts. For more information on how to do this, visit Apple’s support page about iOS passcodes.
  • Disable Access To Siri Via The Lock Screen- Siri, iOS’s personal assistant can be helpful, however, she can also be a security risk. There have been instances where Siri has been used to bypass the iPhone’s lock screen. Disabling Siri from being used from the lock screen will protect your device from these types of hacks.
  • Turn On Find My iPhone- Unfortunately, devices can get lost or accidentally left behind. By using the Find My iPhone app on another device or on the web, you can easily track where your phone is. The service also gives you the ability to remotely erase the data from your device, in the event that your device does happen to fall into the hands of a thief. They may have your phone, but you have control over them getting their hands on your data.
  • Keep Updates Up-to-date- Whenever there is a software update available for your device’s OS or apps, do it! By keeping your apps and operating system up to date you will strengthen the security of your device. If you’re one of those “do it later” kind of folks, you can turn on the Automatic Download feature to update apps without the need for any user interaction (just be sure to choose Wi-Fi only updates if you’re on a limited data plan from your carrier).