While it is probably not getting the media play Apple intended among the much larger story of iOS 9 crashing and slowing down iPhones, Apple has taken some steps in securing their users information. In typical Apple fashion, they are very small steps, harkening back to times of old for those of us on different platforms.
This is the company that shall forever be known for allowing celebrities personal pictures to be traded like commodities in the back alleys of the internets, and then stated their security acted as it should. Security has seemingly been nothing more than a way to charge more for Apple. Adding a fingerprint sensor was really nothing more than adding lights and sounds to appease an easily appeased audience. But let’s see what’s new on the security front for iOS 9.
Passcodes: iOS 9 has increased the passcode requirement from 4 digits to 6 digits. While this does make cracking a passcode exponentially more difficult. It begs a question ‘how many Apple coders does it take to increase a PIN from 4 to 6?’ Hopefully that answer is one, and hopefully it took minutes.
There is another feature that has been added in iOS 9 with the passcode. One which is all to familiar to BlackBerry users as we’ve had it for long enough to just say ‘forever’. Now if the passcode is entered incorrectly 10 times, the phone will wipe itself. This is the simple type of security that would have stopped the theft of the celebrity photos.
Two Factor Identification for iCloud (Not really though): Now when users sign in to their iCloud with a new device, they’re prompted to enter a 6 digit passcode, which is then sent to other devices registered to the cloud. In this way, the user is alerted that another device has accessed the iCloud account. As InfoWorld points out, “Despite Apple touting the system as two-factor authentication for iCloud, this is really a two-step verification method for Apple ID. There is no second factor — such as a physical token or biometric identifier — to authenticate users.”
Oh well, at least Apple is taking those initial steps towards security. While it’s obvious these tiny steps are in response to very public breaches, we can only hope that this is a sign that Apple is starting to recognize the importance of keeping their users data safe. However I think it’s far more likely that Apple won’t concern itself with security until they can find a lucrative reason to, and as long as the iPhone continues to have record sales, we can continue to see Swiss cheese security.