Apple users have been upset as of late because of a weird issue that's preventing them from using their Mac and iOS devices. Affected users have taken to social media to draw attention to the problem where people are being locked out of their devices.
The way out? Users have to call a number and pay a ransom in bitcoins to get their access back. The user's iCloud account is the one asking people to pay up so they can have access to their devices restored, and this has led to a widespread speculation that Apple has been hacked.
However, there is no evidence or report stating that Apple has been attacked. Rather, the attacks are being made by hackers who have managed to get a hold of user credentials from a third party. These credentials are then used to log into iCloud accounts and place devices in lock mode.
This lock cannot be undone by formatting the device or reinstalling iOS. Users are at a loss trying to find ways to lift the lock without paying the ransom.
Ransomware attacks aren't uncommon, and even though there is no surefire way to be safe, there are steps you can take to protect your Apple device to some extent.
Change your iCloud Account Password
If your account hasn't yet been attacked, there is still time to secure your account and protect your data. The least you can do is change the password of your iCloud account immediately. Even if attackers get a hold of your credentials and try to lock your device, the password will be invalid, foiling the attempt.
There's another iCloud feature that's being targeted by hackers. Click here to learn what it does and how to turn it off.
Keep Passwords Separate for Each Account
This is recommended not only for your iCloud account but also for every other online account. Every password is best kept unique, rather than using the same password everywhere. When you use the same password for every account, hackers find it easy to attack you.
If one of your accounts is attacked, chances are the other accounts will not be safe for too long. On the other hand, having unique passwords for each account will keep the other accounts safe even if one of them is compromised.
Activate Two-Step Authentication
While this isn't a guaranteed method to protect your devices against ransomware attacks through iCloud, it does help protect all your data stored in your iCloud account. This includes pictures, emails, and contacts.
When you have two-step authentication enabled, Apple will send you a passcode on your device to ensure it was you who requested access and not someone else. Even in the event of someone gaining access to your account since they do not have passcode access to the data stored they will not be able to access said data.
Note: Although iCloud's two-step can protect your account, it has one glaring weakness. Click here to read more about it.
Protect Your Device
Add an extra layer of security to your device with a password or passcode. You could restrict access to certain parts of the device, or all of it with the help of a password. Even if hackers access your device or data, the requirement of a password will protect your data.
It is critical to keep your data backed up all the time for added security in case of theft or loss. We recommend our sponsor IDrive for quality backup services.
Turn Off Find My iPhone
Even though this isn't the best practice, a lot of Apple users have recommend trying this method to make devices more secure. Turning off Find My iPhone service on your Apple devices will prevent hackers from gaining access to your device or data, but it will also block all ways to locate your lost or missing device. Just do not lose it!
The best move in case of your device getting locked is to shut off the device and go to your nearest Apple store to seek support. To get the lock lifted as soon as possible, carry the device's proof of purchase along.
Always back up your data
Backing up your critical data is also an important safety precaution in the fight against ransomware. It's the best way to recover encrypted files without paying a ransom. For extra security, we also recommend having a reliable cloud backup service such as our sponsor, IDrive.
With IDrive, you can back up your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and even your social media accounts like Facebook or Instagram into ONE account for one low cost! It's that convenient and easy.
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This is so handy! One hidden iPhone and iPad feature you'll use over and over again
There's another hidden iOS 11 feature that you will want to use all the time. Click here to learn what it is and why it's game-changing.