Why is there no antivirus for iOS?

The reason is the way this operating system is built. On an iPhone or iPad, apps can communicate with each other only in very limited ways, and there are no exceptions for special cases such as security applications.

A malicious app is therefore not able to extract information from another app, but that is also the reason why an antivirus app for iOS would only be able to scan itself.

In addition, in most instances iOS apps can only be downloaded from the Apple App Store, meaning that for the mass audience the apps have been vetted by Apple and adhere to their strict policy.

Why should I check my iOS protection?

Malware is not the only way to attack someone’s device. From the bad guys’ perspective, a much lower cost approach is social engineering where a person is tricked into submitting their personal data or other information, for instance, through a phishing website or scam social media messages.

Aside from phishing scams targeting banks and popular online services, attempts to phish your Apple ID credentials could result in you losing access to your pictures, sensitive email messages, company data and anything else stored in your iCloud unless you have protected your account with multifactor authentication.

Benefits of strong passwords and multifactor authentication

Regardless of what device you are using, when you access certain online services like online banking, social media, or your email, you need to authenticate yourself. You do that mostly with a username and password that you choose.

It is therefore crucial to create strong and hard to guess passwords, ideally passphrases, that are unique for every online service that you use. You can find tips on how to create a safe passphrase in this article.

An additional level of protection is using multifactor authentication (or MFA) where possible. In case your password to a website or other service is either stolen, you entered it into a phishing website or it was successfully guessed, MFA will prevent cybercriminals or other con artists from accessing that service with just your login credentials.

They will simply not be able to provide that additional verification that you set up. If they use your credentials, in most cases you will be notified by your service provider and asked if this login attempt was really you. Reliable online services offer MFA - you just need to enable it.

Apple refers to the MFA option for Apple ID as two-factor authentication, and it has been enabled by default for some new Apple ID accounts since iOS 10.3, released in 2017. Regardless of when your Apple ID was created, you should check to ensure that MFA is now enabled.

To find out if your password has been stolen and leaked, you can check haveibeenpwned.com. It is an industry-trusted website that collects information about data breaches and makes it safely searchable.

A reliable password manager offers this service too. If your password has been stolen, you need to change it. However, never do that on a device that might be the reason why your previous password was stolen – a device that can be either infected or is connected to a potentially unsecured network, such as free public Wi-Fi, as these may allow cybercriminals to steal even your new password or passphrase.

If you think someone might have accessed your online banking credentials or information about your payment cards, immediately contact your bank.