Since its infancy six years ago, the Apple watch’s operating system has been subject to over 800 vulnerabilities. While Apple is typically quick to act in patching these security gaps, their frequent manifestation is concerning. Because Apple watches connect to our smartphones (which often house significant quantities of confidential data), malicious actors can use the weak spots in the smartwatch’s system to infiltrate your phone’s network.
With macOS Monterey set to be released this fall, Apple aims to more closely align their watch, mobile, and desktop operating systems to make device interactions more seamless. While there are many benefits to this release, there are concerns that it may pave the way for attackers to more easily slip through the cracks and access confidential user data.
What can I do to keep my devices secure?
According to Forbes, here are a few simple things that users can do to ensure their devices are as secure as possible.
- Specify a strong passcode. This is your first line of defense against unauthorized access. Although the device allows passcodes of four digits, be sure to set a harder-to-guess, longer combination. You can do it using your paired iPhone (open the Watch app and go to My Watch> Passcode) or on the smartwatch itself (head to Settings > Passcode > Turn Passcode On). By the way, the passcode is not necessarily required every time you unlock your watch. A feature called “Wrist Detection,” when enabled, will only lock the gadget when you take it off, and you will need to enter your code once you put it back on.
- Use the Activation Lock. If your Apple Watch goes missing, this feature prevents another person from using it. They cannot unpair it from your iPhone, pair it with theirs, or deactivate the Find My service unless they know your Apple ID and password. To check if this feature is on, hit the My Watch tab in the Watch app on your iPhone, tap the info button, and look at the status of the Activation Lock. Additionally, consider enabling the “Erase Data” function that destroys all information on the wearable device if a wrong passcode is entered ten times. If the smartwatch is stolen, you can wipe it remotely using your personal account controls on iCloud.com. You can also remove your iCloud account and register a new one.
- Protect your notifications from prying eyes. Vigilant users love the feature called “Notification Privacy.” It prevents the full details of your notifications from appearing on the home screen. To view it, you have to tap the message. This extra step makes a difference because it keeps shoulder surfers at bay.