Potential Apple hack raises questions about mobile security

Potential Apple hack raises questions about mobile security [Image: HYWARDS via iStock]

Apple has denied that its iCloud service has been accessed by hackers, despite threats by the London-based Turkish Crime Family hacking group that it will remotely wipe the data of millions of users if the company doesn’t pay a ransom by April 7th.

The hackers provided the details of 54 iCloud users to ZDNet.com, who confirmed that they were real. Apple, however, said that there have not been any breaches in its systems, with a spokesperson telling Fortune that the “alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services”.

Security experts have said that even if Apple is right, it is important to consider the safety of your devices and accounts and the data stored within them.

So what can you do to ensure you are protecting your data to the best of your ability? And what can companies do to avoid having their sensitive information compromised by hackers accessing employees’ devices?

Use passwords

The first line of defence against hackers is always a password. A secure password will be able to offer you a decent degree of protection, particularly when it is long, complicated and unique. Using the same password for multiple accounts also opens up the possibility of having more details accessed so it something to be avoided completely.

Although good passwords are not completely unbreakable, they do offer more protection so it’s a good idea to have a different one for each account used on your smartphone, tablet and laptop.

Keep up-to-date

Ensuring that all software and apps are kept updated will provide your devices with the latest security features and protection. You should install security updates immediately upon release. Companies should ensure that employees using their phones and tablets as part of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy are aware of the importance of this.

You can set your devices to automatically install app updates in the background, which saves time and effort.

Block physical access

If a phone with company data on it is lost or stolen, it presents a huge security threat to businesses. It could allow hackers to potentially access customer information or find out confidential business details. The risk of this happening can be minimised by setting up a pass code on your smartphone.

All devices give you the option to set one up, and it’s always a better idea to use a longer code, typically six digits or more. It can help bar a hacker from gaining access to anything that is kept on the phone. Biometric tools are also being introduced to keep things secure, including fingerprint and facial recognition scanners.

Avoid open wifi

If you use your device for business purposes, you should avoid open wifi networks. They may offer convenient internet access on the move, with networks installed on public transport and in shops and cafes, but they could put you at serious risk.

Anyone nearby when you’re using the network could gain access and spy on what you’re doing. Although this requires specialist tools and software, it is a possibility and should not be understated.

Mobile data management

Companies should ensure they are using the best tools available to maintain visibility and control of the devices connected to their networks. Software like Wandera can help businesses prevent threats, enforce policy and reduce mobile data usage.

Arrow can offer this as well as mobile device management (MDM) capabilities. MDM provides central management, easy integration with enterprise systems and proactive security for mobile devices using company networks. These are essential for keeping devices – and the data within them – safe.