iOS 9 security updates and improvements

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Apple recently released the latest iteration of their mobile operating system iOS. iOS 9 offers a few interesting security upgrades, not to mention the ability to install ad-blockers.

The bigger the company, the larger the user base, the more of a target you make yourself to cyber crims and Apple is certainly no exception.

Although the malware we see on iOS is fairly small in number compared to the infection magnet that is Android, iOS users are still in jeopardy of becoming infected and potentially losing their precious data.

Apple are no doubt aware of this and with the release of iOS 9 come a couple of new security features as well as updates to existing features.

We don’t want your data

We constantly talk about how important it is to keep your personal data in check, for example not just giving out your name, address and email willy-nilly.

In an interesting twist Apple have declared that wherever possible they don’t want your data. As Mark James, ESET IT security specialist, explains if they don’t have it then they can’t lose it.

“Apple stated quite clearly in their keynote that they do not want to know your personal information where possible, after all if they don’t know or store it they can’t lose it right?

“So not associating your information with your apple ID and not sharing that info with third parties helps to back up their statement.”

It’s a clever stance to take and one that other companies might seek to replicate: everyone is vulnerable to being breeched and Apple are no different, by swearing off data hoarding they could minimize the damage caused by a potential breech.

Passcodes and 2FA

Apple have also increased the passcode requirement from 4 digits to 6 and have increased the number of services that can utilise 2FA.

“With iOS 9 we see the move from 4 digits to 6 digits when it comes to passcode requirements, which is a massive improvement.

“The existing requirement of 4 digits is only 10,000 possible combinations I know that sounds a lot but it’s easier to guess than the 1 million unique combinations that 6 digits offer.

“They have also increased the use of 2FA or two-factor authentication, this can now be used for not only logins from new devices but new browsers as well, it will also protect any iTunes purchases if you wish and should be activated for greater protection.”

“There are many other security advantages in IOS9 and too many to go over here but lastly I like the idea of allowing developers to create ad-blocking extensions in iOS 9.

“These days it’s one of the more common means to deliver malware and one that can affect the iPhone unlike many traditional methods used these days.”

Ad-blocking software is a double edged sword however: content producers and websites often rely on ads for income but ads can be exploited to deliver many forms of malware.

For example just a couple of weeks ago we covered a malvertising campaign that took place on the dating website Plenty of Fish and that was hardly a unique incident.

It’s a tricky situation and one that we hope will find a happy medium but until advertisers and websites find a less intrusive and far more secure method of delivering ads users will continue to block them. It really is in everyone’s best interest to find a solution.

Have you updated to iOS 9? Are you liking the changes so far?

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