I wouldn’t say all of us here at eCrypt are paranoid, but we do make sure we take precautions with our machines and our devices. Here’s the thing, though, there has to be a happy medium between security and being able to get stuff done. Case in point, iOS security—iPhone and iPad Tips of the Week – Share Contacts Fast, Batch Photo Uploads for Facebook, and Secure Your iDevices—this article from MacLife is rather good and there are some great tips there on how to do more cool stuff with your iPhone or iPad, but I have to challenge some of their security just a bit.
First I fully support and encourage a passcode lock on your iOS devices. I have them on all of mine and you should too. Now, simple (four digit) or complex is up to you, but do consider how you are using your device (and what you have on it). When you want to make a call on your iPhone do you want to have to enter something more than a 4 digit number? There is security and then there is pain in the tush.
Auto-destruct after 10 fails? On my BlackBerry that had been a problem, but on iOS I think it’s a good idea to turn it on. Only gotcha is that you need to make sure you sync your device regularly so there are backups to work from. Myself, being that I always want the latest updates from all my apps, I sync a couple times a day (pretty much if there is more than a couple app updates).
The one thing that I vacillate about it how long before requiring a passcode. Yes, immediately is safest, but it isn’t convenient. I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve read an email, locked my phone, only to have another email come right in. If you have require passcode to immediately you have to punch that code in again.
Honestly that minute could be enough time for someone to get information out of your phone.
What about your iPad? That probably depends on how you use it. If it stays at home and the whole family uses it, having an immediate passcode lock and wiping data might not be the best idea. However if you’re like me, and use your iPad instead of bringing a laptop along for working on documents, then you should have the security settings as tight as you would on your iPhone.
This is the essential part (and challenge) with security—how much inconvenience can you tolerate for security? At home you might need a key or two to get into your house, but probably not retina and fingerprint scanning. You lock your car, but it doesn’t shoot out a cloud of poison darts if you set off the alarm.
As I am using my devices more and more, and therefore storing more sensitive information on them, I’m getting more and more careful and willing to put up with more inconvenience to stay secure.
So, where do you draw the line with smartphone security?