Apple unveils new Security features with iOS 7
Much to the excitement of their legion of adoring acolytes, last week saw the rollout of Apple’s latest mobile platform- iOS 7. Headline grabbing changes include a shift away from the faux leather and paper textures in previous versions towards the minimal “flat” interface design now commonplace amongst competitors. Of course in this day and age so much of our personal data is accessible from smartphones, that eliminating security flaws is one of the foremost considerations for any new software design. The fact that so many of our customers can now take advantage of the ability to monitor their CCTV footage remotely from a smartphone is a testament to this. Naturally, Apple has laid out a slew of new security features amongst the updates.
The new Activation Lock feature, for example, adds a new layer of protection should your handset fall into the wrong hands. Once set up, it asks for your Apple ID and passcode in order to deactivate any of the phone’s tracking features, or to erase data. Theoretically this should help make it harder for stolen phones to be wiped and sold on, something American regulators had been calling for from manufacturers. In fact, the NYPD is so eager to encourage the use of this new feature that they have started handing out flyers to iPhone users on the subway encouraging them to upgrade! Of course, it could all be a highly elaborate product placement scheme…
Four uniformed NYPD officers were at my subway stop tonight asking me to upgrade to iOS 7. Not a joke! pic.twitter.com/CGdR2RqtKJ
— Michael Hoffman (@Hoffm) September 21, 2013
No system is 100% perfect, and predictably hackers and security experts were lining up to identify potential flaws as soon as the software hit the virtual shelves. Such attention is often useful for manufacturers, as developers routinely pay “bug bounties” for helpful users who point out such flaws. This is less often the case with hardware problems though, such as the weakness discovered in the new iPhone 5S’ innovative fingerprint lock 24 hours after release by a team of German hackers. Designed to be used in place of numerical codes, the feature scans your finger on the home key, and blocks other users from activating the device.
The team were able to bypass this however, by lifting the user’s print from a glass. Obviously, this is unlikely to be used by a mugger on the street, but highlights how even the most secure systems can be exploited. American politicians have also raised questions as to how user’s personal data will be used in the wake of Edward Snowden’s damning NSA revelations.
Of course, all of this underlines the importance of taking simple password security steps when setting up mobile access for your CCTV-
- Use numbers and letters in different cases
- Don’t make it predictable
- Don’t share it!