iOS 6 Security Risks and How to Protect Your iDevice From Them

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With the arrival of the iOS 6 platform, Apple device users couldn’t have been happier. However, almost six months since its release, experts have started uncovering serious security risks which could compromise users’ data security and experience while using iOS 6 supported devices.

iOS 6 Security Risks

If you’re an iDevice user and this is news to you, read on to discover what security risks you may be facing and how to cushion their blows. Also Read – How to Save Money Through Apple’s “Paid App For Free Daily” Activity

The Three Risks You Face

Up till February 2013, the IT world has been abuzz after discovering the following three security risks.

1. Mobile Hijacking via iOS Profiles

iOS profiles, or mobileconfig files, are what mobile carriers use to configure settings for different features such as Wi-Fi and e-mail. By creating a malicious profile and tempting users to download it for free from a website, hackers can surpass Apple’s tight security and gain access to the device.

Another way in which hackers can gain control is when iDevice users download profiles from mobile carriers but via a public Wi-Fi network or an unencrypted channel. Attackers can then change the files to meet their own needs and the device’s security will be compromised.

2. Bypassing Any iPhone Lockcode

If your iOS 6 supported iPhone falls in the wrong hands, hackers can easily access its data after bypassing its lockcode. All they need to do is turn the phone off, initiate and then abort an emergency call, press the off button and finally press cancel.

Through this sequence of button presses, the phone will boot into the full phone app mode, allowing the attacker to make calls, send text messages, and even alter your phone’s data.

3. Easier Cybercrime through Apps

Though iOS 6 has been applauded for the 200+ features, there are a few security risks which these may pose. For example, through Passbook, which is a new app that combines digital tickets, loyalty cards, gift voucher, coupons and the like, an iDevice user’s personal data, information about their availability at home, and even credit card information can easily be extracted by hackers.

In addition, since Apple no longer demands a password for downloading free apps, users won’t notice malicious apps on their devices until it’s too late.

These are the main issues that compromise an iOS 6 device’s security. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with them if you know how to protect your Apple device.

How to Mitigate iOS 6 Security Risks

Protecting your iOS 6 devices and ensuring their data’s security is quite easy. To protect your phone from malicious iOS profiles, you should abide by the following three rules while downloading mobileconfig files:

  • Always make sure that you download and install profiles from credible websites or applications. You may have to run a search to discover if a website is trustworthy, but investing a few minutes in this task will prevent you from struggling with a corrupted phone and the effects of data theft.
  • Never download profiles from unsecured channels. A secured channel can easily be identified by “https” at the start of its URL.
  • Keep on the lookout for non-verified profiles. Though verified profiles aren’t always safe, but their counterparts are definitely bad news.

Now for bypassing the lockcode, you may have to put more effort into protecting your iPhone from theft since there isn’t a concrete way to counter this risk. However, this isn’t the first time Apple has dealt with such a trick. A bug in iOS 4 allowed attackers the same access but was fixed within a month. So, there’s always a chance that history may repeat itself and the next update alert you receive will rid you of this issue once and for all.

Finally, to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime through your apps, you may want to consider these tips:

  • Properly configure our security settings to allow numeric, password, or fingerprint locks to access features of your iDevice.
  • Now that the App Store has become a secure channel, only download your apps from there rather than third-party websites.
  • Be on the lookout for apps which continuously request access to different information. Chances are that you haven’t even downloaded them, which indicates that they are malware.
  • Limit the amount of information you store on your iDevice to prevent major issues such as identity theft.
  • Download reliable security apps and update them regularly to avoid becoming a hacker’s next victim.

Though Android users may be pleased to find a chink in Apple’s shining armor, the risks of iOS 6 can easily be controlled and eliminated altogether. So, follow these rules and tips to keep your Apple device and its data secure.

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Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

I am Vishal Gaikar, Software Engineer, Web Addicted, Living in Maharashtra, India. If you like This post, you can follow Tricks Machine on Twitter, also you can add me on Google+.

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