Can an iPhone be hacked – How to secure your iPhone?

Samuel Walker Last updated: September 17, 2022 Read time: 12 minutes Disclosure

An iPhone hack isn't uncommon today. Yet, applying iPhone security best practices saves your device from being hacked.

Sneak peek at iPhone security

Apple flaunts utmost security for its iPhones. However, like every other device, an iPhone is equally vulnerable to cyber threats. Today, numerous malware exist that typically target iPhone users. Sometimes, the adversary may include state actors that execute an iPhone hack against a specific target. while it sounds scary, thankfully, you can easily fix a hacked iPhone, and prevent future hacks, by applying some basic security practices. Find all about it, and more, in this guide.

Very few tech firms are as adept at PR management as Apple. For instance, take the iPhone security’s reputation. Apple has managed for a big chunk of the world to believe that an iPhone is impervious to hacks. It’s supposed to be the safest mobile device on the market, and many people are willing to sing along with this tune.

Let’s not forget that the iPhone remained the most straightforward device to hack for an extended period. That’s why Apple had to remove Flash technology from its devices. 

Things are not so bad nowadays. Safety in iOS-powered devices has improved significantly over the years, and there is no doubt that, as things stand right now, the security in the platform is worthy of praise. It’s better than Android or Windows, for sure. But that doesn’t mean that iPhones are the invulnerable strongholds of digital security they are purported to be.

Let’s address the fundamental issue: Apple iPhones can get hacked. It’s the nature of the beast. So yes, Apple can tell us all about how hard it is to hack one of its phones and talk endlessly about the iOS secure source code and security measures. All that information may be truthful, but it fails to acknowledge the main source of data breaches: human error.

Most hacking strategies on iPhones have the user as the attack’s target, the weakest link in the security process. They’re not about the hardware, the platform’s weaknesses, or polluted apps. Instead, hackers look at you, the user, as their ticket. Therefore, you must be aware to deny them their wish effectively.

Restoring a hacked iPhone – The quick guide

If your beloved iPhone fell victim to hackers, there’s no need to worry. You can fix it and restore it completely. Here’s what to do:

  1. Choose an iOS mobile security suite, and install it. Norton 360 is a good option, including features like Wi-Fi security, a VPN service, and web protection.
  2. Launch the app. Run a full scan. The scan will take a while because it will go through every file in your system, looking for any signs of security problems.
  3. After the scan completes, take the time to read the report in full. The information will tell you the security problems you are facing and how to repair them.
  4. Now that you have a security suite running on your iPhone, keep it active at all times. Thus, you will prevent your phone from getting hacked again.

Ways through which an iPhone hack may happen

1. Wi-Fi connections

Have you ever encountered a public Wi-Fi network asking you for much information upfront before you can connect? And then, you must go through an insane number of terms and conditions pages. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re desperate and will follow through with this craziness, even without the help of a VPN that can keep us safe under the circumstances. These networks are public, unprotected, and a hacker’s wet dream. You usually find them in:

  • Airports. Many airports across the world offer Wi-Fi networks for their travelers. Unfortunately, they are as unsafe as any public Wi-Fi network is bound to be. If on top of everything, the network requires you to provide personal details or if a third party is in charge of it, then more red flags are waving in the air — any resemblance to Boingo is not coincidental.
  • Budget hotels and motels. Keeping a reliable and secure Wi-Fi network takes resources. The most affordable motels are rarely interested in devoting any of their meager resources to that service, so they usually have an open network for everybody.
  • Cafes ad bars. Coffee shops and Wi-Fi go together like movies and popcorn. Starbucks is a good example. Have you ever thought twice about connecting to your favorite Starbucks Wi-Fi network? Well, unless you had an iPhone VPN active always, you should have. 

2. URLs

You’ve probably read this before: if a link comes from an unknown source, you should never open it. It’s hard to believe that phishing remains one of the most effective hacks, but it’s still effective, and phishers are a pretty creative bunch. They’ve found many ways to scam unsuspecting users. Here are some of them:

  • Email. Email phishing attacks have been around for decades. And we’re all still getting links to a “free cruise” or notice for our winning lottery tickets. These days, more sophisticated attacks can make their emails look like legitimate messages from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple. The classical phishing email will ask you to “update” your password.
  • SMS. Can iPhones get hacked from text messages? It’s a common query for most iPhone users. And the answer to it is “yes.” Text messages are very cost-effective for hackers. They allow them to rely on quantity over quality and still get something out of their efforts.
  • Phone calls. The domestic phone networks of many countries are flooded daily with scam calls. These are simple phishing attacks where the telephone call replaces a fraudulent web page.
  • Social media. Social media are a sign of our times. There exist some accounts that look like targeted ads, but they are the latest phishing technique. So, keep your social media accounts as private as possible to avoid public (especially negative) attention.
  • Web ads. Adds are the curse of the web. Unfortunately, they’re also at the heart of many business models of successful tech corporations. Many are not merely annoying but pose real risks to the users who click on them, even on iPhones.
  • Fraudulent software. There are fraudulent versions of legitimate paid software that criminal hackers exploit for phishing. Be careful when downloading apps like “free VPNs” or “free antivirus suites.”

3. Apps

The digital economy is new in the human experience. Nevertheless, it’s been around for long enough for a principle to be clear: whenever you’re not paying for a digital service or product, you are the actual product. The amount of ink spilled on the subject of Facebook, Google, and other tech firms selling user data is enormous. However, being a household name is not a requirement to spy on people in the digital environment. Any relatively exotic or small app can spy on you effectively. And if you allow it, however unknowingly, you will make its task easier to accomplish.

So, let’s turn to “free” apps. They will offer free wallpapers, ringtones, VPNs, and novelty camera features. You should be suspicious of any app that doesn’t come from a trusted source and provides anything for “free.” Pay attention to the following signs indicating a phone hack — they may tell you that a new “free” app is indeed doing sketchy things: