Security improvements lead the way in iOS 9

Our appetite for IT innovation is seemingly insatiable and this is particularly true of smart phone technology. Just days after the rollout of iOS 8.4 at the end of June 2015, attention turned to the new features and specifications of Apple’s next big release: iOS 9.

Expected to be unveiled later this year (to coincide with the new iPhones, which are typically released in autumn), iOS 9 is set to include public transport information on Maps, improved card integration on Wallet, and CarPlay, for better wireless connections with in-car wireless systems. These features have already been released by Apple and are able to view on its site.

Among the most notable changes, though, are those related to security, which we thought were worthy of a mention this month. The first is the introduction of a six-digit simple passcode, to replace the current four-digit system.

Six-digit passcodes

Whilst users will still be able to use four-digit pass codes if they choose, Apple (along with countless security companies) strongly advises using six. This takes the number of possible combinations up from 10,000 to one million. Whilst it’s unlikely that someone would sit there manually entering 10,000 passcodes, the fact that they’re able to is enough of a risk. This became evident after it emerged that users could power down after inputting incorrect pass codes to reset the failed attempt count.

Two-factor authentication

The second security feature heading to iOS 9 is two-factor authentication. The system, which has long been in use on other devices, will see users asked for a security code whenever they sign in from a new browser or device. Such a move not only keeps out hackers but can also alert users to any fraudulent login attempts.

Apple has already dabbled with two-factor authentication, having rolled it out in March 2013 – albeit to a limited number of accounts. It was later integrated with iMessage, iCloud and FaceTime.

Exactly how it will work within iOS 9 has not yet been revealed, but its introduction is almost guaranteed, with Apple declaring in a statement: “A password alone is not always enough to keep your account secure. With two-factor authentication… you’re quickly signed in – and any unauthorised users are kept out.”

Watch this space.

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