Amid launch of iPhone 11, Apple rolls out major security features

December 2, 2019

 

 

  While we’ve all heard the spiel about not opening any suspicious emails and not giving our social security numbers out, we may not be paying attention who can access the personal data on our smartphones.

 

Today’s users are increasingly more reliant and are storing far more personal information on their smartphones. Since smartphones now contain significant amount of sensitive personal data, such as passwords, email history, website, search engine and social media habits, there’s a growing concern about protecting this data.

 

Smartphone and software manufacturers are taking notice of people’s concerns. Apple recently launched the iPhone 11 family, boasting that it has the most secure Face ID ever. To supplement this, Apple has launched a campaign touting the privacy and security features of its operating system and its iPhones. A digital commercial by Apple describes its commitment to privacy and security, pledging to keep all of your sensitive information secure — from your location to your messages, to your heart rate.

 

The internet is a wonderful thing but is also a dangerous place for personal data.

 

According to Pew Research, one-in-five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users. This means that browsing the web on our phone could expose us to the tracking by third parties using cookies. A cookie is a code in a web browser that allows websites to track certain things about visitors to the website, such as location or browsing history.

In this new age of cybersecurity pitfalls, its best to arm yourself with knowledge about how your device and your network can secure your personal data.

Cookies and the tracking of browsing history is top of mind for many, but not all.  In Pew’s Americans and Digital Knowledge survey, 63 percent of respondents answered correctly that cookies allow websites to track user visits and site activity, compared to 27 percent that were unsure and 9 percent that answered incorrectly. That’s still a large percentage of the U.S. population that are not completely aware that websites track their daily web browsing activities.

 

Apple has significantly bolstered security on its web browser, Safari. According to a whitepaper released by Apple about Safari’s new security and privacy features, some websites include 100 or more trackers from different companies on a single page. While you might think that you could just block websites from tracking you, blocking the website also blocks some of the functions of the website, like saving login information or items in a shopping cart.

 

To combat this, Safari now has Intelligent Tracking Prevention software that limits traffic, but still enables websites to function normally. It uses machine learning to figure out which domains are used to track a user, then isolates and purges the tracking data they attempt to store on the user’s device. When you buy a new phone, like the iPhone 11 Pro Max, this feature is automatically enabled.

 

Another notable security feature available on the iPhone 11 family and other Apple devices, is the addition of two-factor authentication to Apple ID.

 

Two-factor authentication is an important way you can protect your personal information on sensitive accounts. Two-factor authentication requires you to input your password and a code that is randomly generated and sent to you.

 

It’s not a new method of securing data, yet not many know about it or opt to utilize it.

 

According to a Pew Research Center Survey on Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues, only 28 percent of adults can identify an example of two-factor authentication.

 

ow, your Apple ID can only be accessed on devices you trust, like your iPhone or other Apple devices. Even if someone knows your password, they won’t be able to access your data on another device.

 

When you sign in to a new device for the first time, you’ll need to provide both your password and a six-digit verification code that’s automatically displayed on your trusted devices.

 

On top of the security and privacy issues on devices, telecommunications are working to secure their networks with cutting-edge technology. Quantum cryptography is one path towards greater security and is being implemented around the world.

 

Many telecommunications providers globally are investing in quantum key distribution for their data networks. This equipment will encrypt your data to prevent hacking and eavesdropping.

 

In this new age of cybersecurity pitfalls, its best to arm yourself with knowledge about how your device and your network can secure your personal data.

 

Jay R. Shedd is senior director  for Sales, Marketing and Customer Service at IT&E, the largest wireless service and sales provider in Guam and the Marianas.  He has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry.

 

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