Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Today, look around you and one phone will likely make an appearance more than any other – the Apple iPhone. Starbuck's, Barnes & Noble, Libraries, College Campuses, workplaces – the ubiquity of iPhone can be seen just about anywhere.

As the first device to open many peoples eye’s to the capability of a phone, iPhones have become our personal, go anywhere computers. Sales of desktops and laptops - although still functional and a necessity – are declining as more and more people and businesses prefer the iPhone as their primary means of personal computing. However this trend does come with its own dangers as lax security is commonplace among many iPhone and other smartphone users. Apple’s renowned ease of use and ‘it just works’ approach to interface design is responsible more than any other reason for this lax of awareness of the possible security issues. Despite Apple’s many inbuilt and automatic security features, owners of iPhones must be no less diligent and conscious of security threats.

iPhone owners must learn to protect and secure their phones just as we would our workplace or home computers. Here are some top tips on securing your iPhone:

Set Up a Pin

Activate the Pin Pad under Settings > General > Passcode Lock. Also set auto lock after a certain period of time, say a maximum of five minutes. Click passcode off, and then turn it on, entering your new passcode using only numbers. Choose anything above four to increase the level of security. Avoid common items like phone numbers, birthdays, and events. Also, iPhone’s have a powerful feature to wipe ALL data after ten failed login attempts. This is a great feature particularly for anyone with sensitive information on their phone but beware, once the tenth has been attempted, your data is gone forever.

Stop Automatically Connecting to Networks

Configure your iPhone to ask for permission before connecting to wireless networks. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Ask to join Networks to change this. That way you have 100% control of the networks you are connecting to for optimum security.

Enable Secure (SSL) Connection

You should whenever it is possible connect to the internet and other networks via a secure connection, especially in retrieving your email. Go to Settings > Mail Contacts > Your Account > Advanced > SSL. It’s that simple to use a secure network.

Browse Securely

Safari is an advanced and generally secure browser by Apple but by tweaking certain settings it can be made more secure. Under Settings > Safari, deactivate Java, block popups, and reject and delete cookies. This will ensure the maximum security for your web browsing experience. Unfortunately the common perception that iPhone’s cannot pick up malware and spyware like a PC is not true.

Restrict Your Apps

Enable app restrictions. This will allow the blocking of apps, prevent changes to settings, and block actions such as in-app purchases. This way no one can access your iPhone via your installed apps.

Turn off Bluetooth

Yes it will save your battery, however it also makes your experience far more secure. Bluetooth can make you vulnerable. Although it is great to use, security is far more important. You should also use a secured Wi-Fi whenever possible, though be aware that snoopers can still intercept traffic on password enable routers, so ensure any sensitive browsing takes place on secure (HTTPS) websites.

Your iPhone is the gateway to mobility and connection away from the office and home. It provides the necessary tools and functionality to offer work and fun on the go, but at a risk. If you implement the above top tips on securing your iPhone, you will avoid many of the potentially dangerous and harmful pitfalls that go along with mobile computing.

George leads the team at Your IT Department, a Nottingham based IT support business offering full service support to small and medium size businesses. George takes a keen interest on writing about all manner of IT security as well as tips and tricks.

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