May 30, 2014

How to protect iPhones against ransomware attack?

I know that ransomware has been a problem in the Windows world for a while, but now it has reached iPhones, and apparently it will make them unusable unless you pay up hundreds of dollars. What should iPhone users do to prevent an attack like this on their device?

Ransomware worries? Turn off Find My Mac/Find My iPhone

"It's been a rough day Down Under; several iOS and Mac users have found their devices held "ransom" by a hacker leveraging Apple's Find My iPhone and Find My Mac services. Australia's The Age reports information acquired by recent security breaches, combined with the human tendency to reuse security credentials across services, may have led to the lockouts. The normally-helpful (or at least benign) Find My X services can indeed be used for ill, as Wired's Mat Honan learned last year to his regret.

It's noteworthy that iPhone users who have a passcode in place should be able to recover access, as long as the passcode was created outside of setting up Find My iPhone. In this post, I'll explain how to disable Find My iPhone/iPad and Find My Mac, as well as how to create a passcode on your iOS device. First, let's disable those services. Note that you must know your iCloud account information to turn off either of the Find My X services -- that's the point, really, as a thief presumably would not know your password and wouldn't be able to unlock or reinstall your purloined device with FMx turned on."

Probably the easiest and most effective thing you can do is enable 2-step verification for your Apple ID.


1. Go to Apple ID website and sign into your account.

2. Click on "Password and Security."

3. You should see a heading for "Two-Step Verification." Click on the "get started" link. 

4. Follow the instructions there to set it up.

5. Note that there will be a few day delay before 2-step verification becomes active. Apple should send you an email telling you when it will take effect. 


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