Three iPhone and iPad security tips

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Three iPhone and iPad security tips

Use the code lock

Without a passcode, all your iPhone data is easy prey for thieves, If you want to be extra safe, switch off "Simple Passcode" and use more than four numbers. The "Erase Data" option will delete the data on the iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts. Before that, there will be warnings and short input blocks

Encrypt your backups

This is particularly relevant if you sync your iPhone with iTunes on a Windows PC. The backup copies made by iTunes contain a lot of personal, and potentially sensitive, data. For instance, in tests, we have found bank transfer data and even TAN lists that were stored on the iPhone in plain text by online banking apps. If your PC catches a trojan, an iPhone backup without encryption will provide just what the trojan is looking for.

Implement a kill switch

Private users can create a free MobileMe account for this purpose. This account must then be added as a new email account, and "Find My iPhone" must be enabled. Users can then locate their iOS devices via Apple's site, or the "Find My iPhone" app, at any time

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How safe is your iPhone data?

The greatest current risk for iPhone owners is not viruses or malicious web pages, it is the danger that the phone might fall into someone else's hands. Although iPhones do offer elaborate security mechanisms, these mechanisms won't stand up to an imaginative hacker.

At worst, losing an iPhone also means losing all the data stored on it. And the data won't just be gone – it could also be in someone else's hands. This doesn't only affect such readily accessible things as address book entries or stored documents, it also includes passwords and other access codes. For instance, a brief inspection of an iPhone that had been in use for about a year produced various long-forgotten Wi-Fi passwords and the access credentials for email, Facebook, eBay and other accounts.

Since the iPhone 3GS, all device data has been hardware encrypted; the method used is 256-bit AES in cipher-block chaining mode. However, this almost uncrackable encryption technology won't protect users' data, because it doesn't present any access hurdles: The keys that are used are all stored on the device and, in regular operation, the system decodes all data transparently.

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