What would happen if someone got unrestricted access to your mobile phone? iPhone security is very strong and there is no doubt that iOS is a very secure operating system. Once a password is set or fingerprints are registered with TouchID, it is virtually impossible for someone with bad intentions to gain physical access to the device. This is why we trust our favorite fruity phones and tablets with so many private and sensible information.
The problem is that even the strongest security measures are as strong as the weakest link. I’m sorry to say that the weakest link in this case is us, Humans: the human factor.
It is so easy to peak someone’s pin while they type it in to unlock their devices. A quick glance is enough to get the key to their entire life and privacy. Do you pay attention and cover your screen every time you unlock your iPhone or iPad? You probably do it at the ATM when you unlock your card, right?
Maybe you feel safe because you never type your pin, you have your fingerprints registered with TouchID.. Who could access your phone when the key to the lock is your unique bio metric data, firmly attached to your hand? Well, anyone who has access to your fingers while you sleep, for example..
Just remember that once your phone is unlocked, also most of your applications and data are. Almost no APP asks you to log-in again every time it is opened.
But what could anyone actually do if they gained physical access to your device? In short: anything they wanted, with possible devastating effects on your life.
A malware that sits hidden in your phone and allows total and unrestricted remote access, now would cost around 500 bucks and all the bad guy needs, is 30 seconds alone with your device to install it.
But other than that, here is a list with a few examples, starting with my favorite:
and the very powerful search function. Think about it, almost your entire online life passes through your email(s) address(es). What would someone find with a search for keywords like “password”, “account”, “log-in”, “bank”, “transfer”, “love you”, “with attachment type:.jpeg”, “confidential”, “private”, “classified”, etc?
What about the “forgot your password” function that most online portal and services have? It works by sending you an email, with a link to reset your credentials and regain full access to your profile. So, if someone has access to your emails and clicks on that link… see where I’m going? Some of these portals also have your credit cards data and home address stored, right?
so, you are cautious with your privacy and smart enough to have enabled two-factor authentication on all your accounts? Awesome! Most of the times it works by sending you an SMS with a code, right? Less Awesome if someone has free access to your SMSs…
APPs that are part of two-factor authentication:
Similar to the one above: many online services that also offer an APP, use the app as the key to access your account using two-factor authentication. Very safe, until someone who isn’t you has free access to that APP..
Contacts, Phone, WhatsAPP, Facebook, all other social APPs:
Other then obviously having access to all your private chats, messages, shared and not shared pictures/videos, etc… it is extremely easy to make a precise network map of your relationships: knowing who your contacts are, how often you communicate with them, what you say to each others. Is not only your privacy that is at stake, but also the one of anyone who trusted you with their number and other contact details.
Even worst they could impersonate yourself, send messages as if they were you, post on your behalf, exploit the trust that your contacts have in you.
Banking and Financial APPs:
for someone with bad intentions, just knowing that you downloaded the APP of a particular bank, most probably because that is where you safely keep your money, could be enough to make damage.
Imagine what could happen if they had full access to the Banking APP… To be fair, almost all apps of this kind ask you to login before anything can be done… but we already saw how easy it is for someone who can access you email, to reset the password of any of your accounts…
Photos and Videos:
the way the photo app sorts and organized your pictures is so convenient. It is also convenient for anyone who is trying to get information about you. Other than looking at all your pictures and videos (and just this would probably be enough to put many
men people in trouble), the Albums feature lets them quickly see:
- who you took pictures with – face recognition, People album
- where you took picture and thus where you have been – geo tagging, Places album
- things that you saved because were important – Screenshots album
- photos you are ashamed of and tried to hide – Hidden album (pictures are just hidden from the camera roll, but are all conveniently visible here)
- Photos you are truly ashamed of and deleted them – Recently Deleted album (do you know every time a picture is deleted it is still visible in this album for 30 days?)
Apps that sell you services:
How many APPs on your phone store your credit card data and are ready to charge it with a few taps on the screen? It is very convenient to call a ride, buy plane tickets, download a song, have something delivered anywhere in the world, by just tapping on buttons, without having to type the payment details every time.. but only as long as you are the one doing it!
I could go on with the list, but this is scary enough. It is clear that anyone who has access to you iPhone or iPad could make a lot of damage, to you and to the people you care about.
Preventing a truly determined person from unlocking your device is extremely difficult. Knowing that it has happened and being able to fix any damage before is too late, is now possible with iAmNotified!