The use of the iPhone in enterprises is becoming popular by the day, which has seen a spike in the increase of iPhone security issues. Many companies are allowing the employees to bring iPhones to work, with others even availing the phones to their workers.
Unfortunately, using personal phones in a corporate world is likely to open the door to a variety of security risks. There are many ways through which corporate data on an iPhone can be compromised. The IT administration departments are struggling to make the iPhone secure without interfering with its user-friendliness. By understanding the risks that the iPhone poses, enterprises can develop actionable steps to address these issues.
What Are the Significant iPhone Security Risks for Enterprises?
Access to the Company’s Data
Even with Apple’s strong security reputation, the iPhone still faces serious security risks, primarily when used in a company setting. When malicious hackers land on the iPhone, they gain access to the company’s data and use it for evil intentions.
For a long time, iPhones have been immune to malware, but that is no longer the case. Experts feel that very soon coders will develop viruses that can compromise iOS security. For instance, hackers have developed software that allows them to unlock iPhones even if the owner had locked it. The hackers can then install scripts or run applications that retrieve the phone’s secure keychain entries, including account details for accessing enterprise resources.
Remote Code Injections
The iPhone is also prone to code injection attacks from hackers who are using wireless signals. The end user can also increase his or her susceptibility to security risks, such as syncing data to an unsecured cloud service or computer. This might lead to unauthorized access to the company’s resources.
Risks of Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses
Trojan horses, viruses and worms may also access secure resources in an iPhone with the intention of interfering with services, which results in damage or extraction of confidential data. For the most significant part, iPhone malware was never an issue because Apple was strict in controlling the applications that can run on an iPhone. Unfortunately, the trends show that it is only a matter of time before hackers can develop malware that infiltrates iOS, making Apple lose its control.
The Risks That Siri Poses
Siri is a fantastic feature for users, as it features a voice recognition assistant that is beneficial. Regrettably, Siri bypasses critical security features, which might make private data available to anybody who gets his or her hands on the iPhone. For example, one can use Siri to get around a locked iPhone screen and send a text or email in the phone owner’s name. The worst part is that IT cannot do much to evade this risk.
8 Tips to Address iPhone Security Risks
Although enterprises will develop strict IT policies, the employees have a significant role to play in ensuring that there aren’t any security breaches. Here are some strategies that both employees and IT can implement to prevent iPhone security risks.
1. Enable Auto-Lock
One of the most significant risks is iPhone unlocking. If the end-user is careful enough to enable the auto-lock feature and ensure that it remains active, then they will have addressed this issue significantly. The auto-lock feature provides that the device’s screen locks after not being used for a time specified by the user. However basic this may sound, its benefits are farfetched.
2. Activate Passcode Lock
When the auto-lock feature goes on after the screen has been inactive for a while, the password lock comes into play. It is also activated when you hit the sleep button. The passcode consists of a four-digit code that must be entered for one to access the iPhone. You can enable it in the settings.
3. Use Wi-Fi Safely
If you use Wi-Fi networks to connect to an enterprise’s resources on your iPhone, encryption and authentication can help minimize iPhone security issues. Make sure you use Wi-Fi protected access 2 Enterprise, which is a protocol feature native to iOS. Note that you will require a remote authentication Dial-In user server to manage the authentication.
4. Email Encryption is Necessary
The iPhone can enforce email session encryption through ActiveSync. For highly sensitive information or highly regulated enterprises, you can use iPhone device certificates for better authentication to email, Wi-Fi networks, and VPNs. The iPhone also has all support hardware device encryption, which is a necessary feature for many enterprises.
5. Configuration Profile Under Lock and Key
IT managers ought to protect the mobile configuration profile using a password. It will ensure that a user cannot remove the pattern unless they return the device to factory defaults. This tip will help curb iPhone security risks significantly.
6. Data Security, Device Management and Education
IT should take every possible step to protect data on iPhones. This refers to encrypting transmitted data, enforcing strong password rules, and using digital authentication certificates. Configuring the device to delete personal data after a specified number of failed attempts of unlocking the phone will help secure a phone too.
7. Use a VPN
IT can configure devices to use a VPN when accessing the corporate network. Such connections can be authenticated and encrypted, which prevents unauthorized individuals from intercepting enterprise data. The iPhone supports industry-standard VPN protocols to help ensure secure access to network resources.
8. Wipe Stolen or Lost iPhones
The IT department should also implement remote wiping capabilities. The feature allows the enterprise to wipe out all data on an iPhone device in less than a second. The method does not wipe out all the data but instead overwrites the encryption key, which makes the information unreadable. That way, in the event of phone theft or loss, the enterprise’s data will be safe.
The benefits of using iPhones in enterprises outweigh the risks, especially because you can implement risk prevention strategies. The most important tip for securing iPhones is for users to avoid storing sensitive data in their devices. Both IT and users should work on implementing risk reduction policies.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.
Published March 22, 2019