Possible security issues by connecting my iPhone to a public Wi-Fi

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by fstigre, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. fstigre macrumors regular


    Aug 12, 2008

    Now that ATT changed their data plans from unlimited to 200MB or 2GB I’m planning to start using HOTSPOTS and any free Wi-Fi connections since I’m getting the 200MB data plan, and even if based on ATT’s history I have never exceed the 200MB in the past 6 months, I’m afraid that with a faster phone I will be using more data than normal so, I will have to start using public Wi-Fi services and I’m a little concern about security issues, since I have never used any public network before.

    1- What is the risk I would be taking if I connect to public networks?

    2- Can they steal my contacts information?

    3- What can I do to prevent any security issues?

  2. extrachrispy macrumors regular


    Jul 29, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    If you aren't running a file-sharing app (e.g., Air Sharing), then you should be OK, as the iPhone does not provide access to its file system, and does not have any enabled shell accounts unless you've jailbroken it.

    Contact syncing with MobileMe should be occurring over SSL, so you shouldn't have a concern there, either.

    I'm not going to say that you are absolutely secure; but I will say that, absent a determined attack from a very knowledgeable attacker, the information on your phone should be reasonably safe so long as it is in your possession. If a black hat type gets physical possession, all bets are off (though I do not know how well iPhone 4 security stacks up to iPhone 3 and iPhone 3GS, as those are trivially defeated given physical possession, provided the attacker knows the tricks).

    Your only remaining window of vulnerability is unencrypted web access. So long as you don't exchange login information with web site that doesn't support the https protocol, you should be OK.

    (Again, all bets are off given a very determined attacker with special equipment. Random wardrivers, password snoops and the like aren't really a worry, IMHO.)

    One thing I suppose is worth considering: someone cloning your phone's identifier information and then stealing service in your name. I suppose that's still possible, but it should be harder than it was a decade ago. Any knowledgeable cellular phone techs want to comment?
  3. wackymacky macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2007
    38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
    As the above poster said the information on your phones native apps are likely safe as you could hope.

    The information you transmit across a wifi network is vulnerable (just as it would be using a computer) if it is not a secure network.
  4. fstigre thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 12, 2008

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