I can’t count the amount of times I’ve picked up a friends iPhone and swiped the “Unlock” button only to realize their phone has no passcode.
“It takes too much time,” “I got annoyed with entering it, so I took it off,” “I don’t have anything on my phone that matters,” are the usual responses as to why there’s no passcode on the phone. Really, five seconds and entering four digits is too much hassle?
What a lot of people don’t acknowledge is that so much personal and confidential information is stored and accessible on our smartphones, such as e-mail accounts and contact lists.
For example: you’re out with a group of friends. You get up from the table and leave your phone unattended. Your friends think it’d be fun to mess with your phone. After realizing your phone’s unlocked they update the status of your social media accounts. Within seconds your status is updated to something inappropriate. Sound familiar? It’s all fun and games until someone looses . . . their job. Your friends may not have been aware that they actually posted to your work social media accounts—that doesn’t sound very professional does it?
Another concern is password resets. If your phone is set up to receive e-mails it’s easy to request a password reset. An intruder can choose one of your accounts, like amazon.com or godaddy.com for instance, and request a password reset link. That link gets sent to your e-mail address which is then received on your phone. Now the intruder can change any of your passwords when they have access to your e-mails, thereby locking you out.
This also applies to iTunes accounts. It would be easy for an intruder (who had gained access to the device due to it being unlocked) to simply request a new iTunes password, thus giving them the ability to rack up iTunes purchases, leaving you with a hefty credit card bill.
These situations could be combated by using an e-mail address that’s not attached to your mobile device, though most would find that a major inconvenience.
Passcodes may not be an end-all solution as thieves can find a way to hack them, but they will deter people from messing with your phone and buy you a little more time to have the phone deactivated or erase the data remotely from your phone if you lose it.
For iPhone users looking for an additional layer of protection you can select Settings | General | Passcode Lock | “Erase Data.” With this function turned on, the data on your iPhone will be erased after 10 failed passcode attempts. If you use this method be sure to back up your phone on a regular basis.
Don’t leave your mobile device at risk of identity theft or fraud, a simple four digit passcode can keep your information safe from prying eyes.