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In an age when millions of dollars are spent to hack smartphones, the idea of defending yourself is more important than ever.
There are simple steps you can take to make yourself far more secure than the average smartphone user. Using an iPhone instead of an Android device is a good head-start, as the default options and apps are significantly more secure on Apple’s device.
Here are three simple ways to make your iPhone an even safer device in the face of the ever-present dangers of chaos and criminality in cyberspace.
Open Whisper Systems
Open Whisper Systems
While the iPhone comes with solid default options like iMessage, Signal reigns supreme when it comes to encrypted chat apps. More than any other popular app out there, Signal can protect a vast spectrum of people against eavesdroppers looking in on your texts, photos, and phone calls.
In early October, Signal proved its privacy worth in a subpoena battle against the FBI. By collecting virtually no data from its users, the app was unable to hand over anything of worth to authorities.
The encryption behind Signal is used by companies like Google and Facebook in their own chat apps. But those tech giants require users to change around settings to achieve the kind of security they have automatically on Signal.
Signal is built from the ground up for security and usability, a rare combination that ought to earn it a spot on your phone.
You browse the web on your phone. Why not do it privately?
Built on the Tor anonymity network, the Onion Browser encrypts your web traffic, helping bypass censorship and keep eavesdroppers in the dark.
Websites won’t see your identity or IP address. And your service provider or wireless network won’t see your browsing either, which makes tracking more difficult. You can also view .onion websites that provide anonymity to both you and the website’s administrator.
For anyone who ever needs some privacy—whether it’s because of your job, your country, your travel, or any other reason—this is the best Tor option on iOS.
If all your important data and accounts sit in big digital vaults, your passwords are the keys that get you inside.
One important but often-overlooked step in personal security is to make those passwords strong and unique, providing another layer of defense against would-be hackers.
Password manager apps like 1Password and LastPass make it easy for you to create complex passwords, store them across devices, and protect them with strong encryption.
Maybe the easiest steps a person can take toward security are to never use simple passwords (like, say, password) and never reuse passwords. Password managers are vital, easy, and powerful tools to secure yourself online.
Without them, you’re practically inviting the bad guys in.
Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.