Apple says that iOS devices are inherently secure -- that's the stance the company took in its 53-page iOS Security Guide last fall. However, around the same time, opposing points of view were expressed in stories about Xsser Trojans, which can steal data from iOS devices; WireLurker, malware that penetrates iOS security via USB; and forensics experts pulling data off locked iPhones. So Apple's recent decision to pull many antivirus and anti-malware apps from the App Store left some people wondering whether the company was protecting users from misleading apps and junk or leaving devices open to malicious software.
In Apple's favor, its unique hardware, firmware, and software architecture; data encryption; and Touch ID and Find My iPhone features safeguard against most attacks. If you want even more protection and privacy, consider an app monitor, a password manager, a secure folder, and VPN. Here are our favorites:
NowSecure monitors your iOS device for untrusted apps, scores its safety level, and makes security recommendations to ensure your data remains safe.
Trend Micro Mobile Security detects malicious and fraudulent websites vying for your sensitive data, as well as apps that overstep their boundaries. Mobile Security also helps manage your Facebook privacy settings and data usage, and backs up and transfers your contacts across devices.
The simplest Facebook app can have the most complicated permissions. Before you sign away your data, download Secure.me and uncover what personal info a third-party app accesses and whether it's too dangerous to install.
It's a good idea to create unique usernames and passwords for every app and site; otherwise one compromised account becomes the gateway to all of them. But it's a hassle typing in and trying to remember all those logins. Password Manager Free generates, encrypts, saves, and autofills your credentials. It can also encrypt and store account numbers and payment info.
Some photos are meant for public viewing and others are best kept secret. Hide your private photos -- as well as videos, texts, voice memos, and documents -- with Lock Photo+ Video Vault Keep Safe. This privacy app shields your personal files in locked or hidden folders that only you can access.
If you're concerned about family or friends accessing your confidential files, put that sensitive data in McAfee's vault. As an added security measure, if someone tries to break in, the app will photograph the perpetrator and email you their pic.
If you often surf over unsecured Wi-Fi, then your activity may be tracked by advertisers. SurfEasy VPN masks your IP address and location and encrypts your data, so you can browse anonymously, dodge trackers, and unblock location-restricted sites.