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Apple launches iPhone 12 with 5G – plus 5 tips to secure your iPhone

Apple’s latest flagship phones, the 5G-enabled iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are now available in Canada, with the 5G-enabled iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max coming soon.

There are a few things notable about these new iPhones in terms of durability and connectivity. In the durability department; a new, ceramic shield screen able to withstand drops and scratches better than its predecessor. The aerospace-grade aluminum enclosure, dust resistance, and water submersion in six metres for up to 30 minutes all make for a tougher iPhone. But, one of the most anticipated new iPhone 12 features is 5G connectivity.

5G: The 5th generation mobile network and the new global wireless standard

The new 5G network is designed to connect us to everything, using super-reliable high speed with negligible latency and huge capacity. Technology experts expect 5G will also positively impact practically every industry in the world as more devices, machinery, and equipment will be connected on the network, streamlining operations.

Smartphones currently on the 4G LTE network are not 5G capable or adaptable to 5G. In Apple’s case, they had to custom-designed antennas and radio components that enable their apps, software, and firmware to take advantage of 5G speeds, allowing for faster downloads/uploads, better quality video streaming, improved gaming, and higher-definition 1080p FaceTime calls.

Not all cell phone carriers in Canada are 5g capable yet. Rogers, Telus, and Bell have new plans offering customers access to 5G with 5G enabled phones. Fido 5G, Koodo 5G, and Virgin Mobile 5G are expected to have 5G access in 2021. If you are a pay-as-you-go user, or currently with discount carriers like Public Mobile, Chatr, or Lucky Mobile, it might be two years before 5G is available.

According to an Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada survey, 75 percent of respondents have adjusted settings to limit personal information shared on their mobile devices. We will be getting more help in that department once we are on the 5G network says Ericsson, a leading provider of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers:

“5G marks the beginning of a new era of network security with the introduction of IMSI encryption. All traffic data which is sent over 5G radio network is encrypted, integrity protected and subject to mutual authentication e.g. device to network.”

The SIM cards in our smartphones hold our IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) which is our unique user identity information: our country code, our wireless provider code, and our phone number. The IMSI authenticates us as our devices travel within the network. Unlike the 4G network, the 5G network will now embed a key into the SIM card that encrypts our IMSI information before that information is even sent to the network, protecting information like who we are, where we are, and how we use our wireless network. This IMSI encryption thwarts cyber criminals from being able to read the code while it travels over the air, nor will they have the credentials to unlock the decryption key. With 5G, both our personal information and the network is more secure.

5 tips to secure your iphone

1. Virtual Private Network
When it comes to securing our smartphones, we can never be too mindful. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when connecting to the Internet provides a secure, private tunnel between your phone and the Internet, protecting you from spying, interference, and censorship.

2. Unsecured Wifi/public networks
Expressvpn.com suggests using a VPN every time you connect to the internet, especially when traveling and using public wifi; situations where your devices are most vulnerable to cybercriminal activity. The VPN will protect your identity and keep you from accidentally logging onto a rogue wifi network or fake/”evil twin” public wifi network.

3. Private browsers
iPhones come pre-installed with a default browser in Safari, but other IOS options for safe, private browsing are available. DuckDuckGo, a pioneer in private browsing, features the option to see what the protection level is at any given time, as well as offering a “fire” feature that erases your online footprint. The Onion Browser, which is an extension of the Tor platform, provides professional-grade security. The Brave browser combines security with speed so you aren’t slowed down by features like pop-up protection and ad blockers.

4. Two-factor authentication
Add another level of security with two-factor authentication for your Apple ID. This ensures you and only you can access your account on a trusted device or on the web, even if someone else knows your password. Along with your password, you’ll also have to provide a six-digit verification code when signing into a new device for the first time, which is automatically displayed on your other trusted Apple devices, or is sent to your phone number. Unless you sign out of that device, a verification code won’t be requested again. Apple now recognizes it as a trusted device that belongs to you.

5. Backing up your data
Regardless if you are upgrading a smartphone, it’s crucial to have your phone’s data backed-up. Cell phones are small and for some, easily lost or destroyed, so wouldn’t it be convenient to have everything installed on a replacement phone with just a few clicks? Apple provides customers 5GB of free storage in iCloud to store up-to-date photos, contacts, notes, apps, and more. If the cloud isn’t your thing, and you have a Windows 10 computer, any iPhone can be backed up using Itunes – just write your password down in a safe place or better yet use a password vault. If you have a Mac computer or MacBook, you can backup your iPhone using Finder.

Bonus tip: Jailbreak or not to jailbreak…just don’t!!

Simply put, jailbreak means freeing your iPhone from Apple’s restrictions. For example, you want to install unauthorized applications onto your device. Some of the end results of jailbreaking: one of those unauthorized apps could damage the IOS and void the warranty, the iPhone becomes less secure and vulnerable to hackers, malware, and viruses. Just the jailbreak process itself might “brick” the phone in the event of failure.
Apple’s IOS is considered one of the most stable and secure operating systems available, therefore it’s something worth protecting and respecting. And jailbreaking may comprise how secure your iphone is.

Resources:

Apple iPhone 12 models features/comparisons
Ericsson 5G security
5G in Canada
Express VPN
Best IOS private browsers
Breaking down cyber attacks

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