2023, July 11
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Security
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6 min read
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Matt S.

Data Leak on iPhone: How To Fix Compromised Passwords

One day your passwords and other private data on your iPhone could get leaked. Learn more about what to do when you get your passwords compromised.

This may happen to everyone. One day your passwords and other private data could get leaked to the dark web or some shady forum. Also, someone can successfully carry out a direct phishing or hacking attack against you. The worst thing is that the hacked data is usually put for sale or used to extort you. Compromised and leaked passwords are no fun.
This is relevant to everyone. PC, MacOS, Android, and iOS – iPhone users can be at the wrong end of a data leak. This is why we made this guide to discuss compromised passwords in-depth. Let's discuss:
  • How this happens & how often it happens?
  • What you should do if your passwords are compromised?
  • How to take preventive action and better protect your data?
  • What apps and software you can use on your iPhone to avoid password leaks?

How do passwords leak and/or get compromised?

To begin with, it's important to understand that there are many ways in which your passwords can be compromised. Even though Apple takes your security seriously and has one of the strongest security measures, it must be bulletproof. So, exploits can happen.
Another iPhone data leak may be linked to a breach in some company's or service's database. Let's give an example. For example, Canva – an online graphic design tool, sustained a leak in May 2019. During it, the credentials of some 137 million subscribers and users were leaked. You can use the HaveIbeenpwned website (learn more) to check whether your email address has been a part of any major leaks. In addition, most password manager apps have such safeguards implemented and will warm you.
In some cases, Apple security alerts may be issued if potential vulnerabilities are discovered in the iOS system or associated apps. If left unpatched, these vulnerabilities could expose user passwords to unauthorized access or data leaks. Stats prove that this problem is severe. Look at the Statista example below.
This shows the most commonly used & leaked passwords in the world.
Two more stats indicate just how most passwords are leaked and compromised.
As you can see, most breaches and leaks are caused by people using weak passwords and re-using them.
There is also a way of stealing your passwords through phishing. Even though this happens less often at home and more often at work, or if you become targeted by a phishing attack (more common for CEOs and high-profile people), you should be wary of it.
Here's an illustration of how it works:

How to act if my iPhone passwords are compromised?

This is a really unfortunate situation to be in. If you checked HaveIbennpwned or your password manager and discovered that your passwords are compromised, take immediate action. Don't wait around; stay vigilant and change your passwords right away.
iPhone owners can see this particular indication helping them manage hacked passwords.
Now the first thing to do is to create a strong password. The easiest method is trusting your browser and/or password manager app to auto-generate secure passwords. Since a truly hard-to-crack password is very difficult to memorize, you will need some method to store them. We have some tips that might help.
  • Make it longer. A good password should be at least 7-8 characters long. For even better security, you can add more symbols and characters. Your iPhone's Keychain can handle them.
  • Randomize. Don't set a pattern. Trust random password-generating algorithms or do it yourself, don't make similar or identical passes on different platforms.
  • Don't include personal information. That's just not smart.
  • Add letters, numbers, and special characters. If you mix it up and have lower, uppercase letters, numbers, and special symbols in a random order, even a sophisticated hacking tool will need help to hack it.
However, each time an iPhone password data leaks, change your password.
This a great visual example distinguishing between what can be categorized as a weak and strong password.

More tips on protecting your data from leaks

We also have some additional tips to help iPhone users better protect their passwords from being compromised and data stolen. Even though we can't control leaks, there are some tips to help with damage limitation.

2FA or MFA should be enabled

Two-factor authentification or multi-factor authentification (2FA and MFA, respectively) significantly improves the security of any account. Even if your password is leaked, the hacker(s) can't log in or do anything significant.
With 2FA enabled, you'll receive a verification code on your trusted devices or via SMS whenever you log in, providing an extra layer of security. Most services have an option for it, so enable it right away. Stats indicate that it works very well.

Update your apps

Often, some hacker or cybercriminal can find an exploit in an app that can only be fixed via patches through updates. Always keep your apps up-to-date to prevent exploits.

Use a password manager and/or Keychain

Consider using a highly-rated password manager app on your iPhone to securely generate and store complex passwords. This helps you maintain strong passwords without the need to remember them all. You only need to memorize a single password that you'll use to access the app.

Educate yourself about phishing

Since phishing attacks are still quite popular, please educate yourself about them. This guide from Meta Compliance covers its ins and outs - Read more.
Through deceptive emails or websites that mimic legitimate organizations, phishers can hack your credentials. Learning about it can reduce the risk of falling victim to such attacks.

Summary

So, as you can see, the risk of having your password stolen is not something to laugh about. Even with a robust security infrastructure like Apple, sometimes you can do little to avoid it. This is why knowing about exploits, using features like 2FA, and having a password manager help limit damage and prevent leaked or compromised passwords from causing further harm.
Skyda also emphasizes that when communicating sensitive information online, it's important to use genuinely secure channels. Messaging apps like Skyda offer end-to-end encryption, ensuring your conversations remain private (Download app).
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