Many people believe Apple devices are immune from viruses and malware, but sadly this is an urban myth. Some Apple owners argue their devices can’t be hacked unless they’ve been jailbroken, removing software restrictions to install non-approved apps. Again, despite Apple’s undeniably impressive security record, this is not the case.
Although most viruses in the 1990s and early Noughties were aimed at Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows operating system, the first recorded example of a virus was created for Mac computers way back in 1981. More recently, the hugely successful iPhone and iPad ranges have seen criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in iOS. Even the OS X operating system for desktops and laptops is increasingly being targeted with adware and ransomware.
Apple security is clearly a bigger issue than many users realize. Below are some of the best ways to keep Apple devices safe, by protecting personal or sensitive information…
Enhance your Apple ID Credentials
Apple ID provides login credentials for the App Store, iCloud, FaceTime and other proprietary services. It therefore represents a potential weak spot in terms of account access. Make life harder for criminals by using biometric security wherever possible, or setting an obscure password with punctuation marks and random capital letters. Apple security extends to two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA. This additional six-digit verification code makes it harder for your account details to be appropriated, though 2FA isn’t compatible with every version of iCloud.
Use HTTPS in public areas
Apple’s Safari web browser is famously stable thanks to tools like the Fraudulent Website Warning on iOS, while a padlock symbol in the address bar indicates a browsing session is fully encrypted. However, using apps across open wifi networks means you’re sending sensitive information over a potentially unsecured network. If a public network doesn’t ask for a password when you log onto it, it’s probably susceptible to hackers and eavesdroppers. You should never access your online banking while using an unsecured network.
Maintain your operating systems
Don’t ignore notifications about updating your operating system – it provides the most up-to-date barrier against threats. Use Gatekeeper to block malware apps, and turn on the firewall option in System Preferences. As for iOS devices, don’t be too casual about location sharing or app permissions – uninstall anything that demands full access to address books or your camera. Finally, switch off Bluetooth in public areas.
Approach unsolicited communications with caution
You might receive an email from an unknown source, claiming its attachment or hyperlink contains important information. Be very wary about clicking that link! Apple devices are susceptible to phishing scams just like Android or Windows-powered hardware. In particular, watch out for website popups reporting a problem with your device, resembling official Apple security messages. Treat any phone calls and emails promising you iTunes gift cards or an upgrade to the iPhone X with suspicion, and report them to Apple straight away. Remember Apple security staff and iTunes Store software will never ask for full passwords, CCV card codes or other unique identifying information.
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