Introduction: We often hear about iPhones and Macs being hacked. In many instances, these breaches occur through iCloud or email accounts compromised by phishing attack or predictable / reused passwords. While no cyber expert can turn back time to undo the hack, there are crucial steps you can take to mitigate the damage and secure your digital life.
Understanding the Nature of the Hack: Before taking any action, consider whether you want to investigate the breach for potential legal action. This could involve a police report or a lawsuit against the cyber attacker. If so, consult a legal expert and the police first. They will guide you on using a technical expert to document the evidence. Remember, this process is time-consuming and expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars due to the complexity of collecting digital evidence. Also, you might need to purchase new devices while preserving the hacked ones as evidence. Act quickly, as the cyber attack may cause further damage over time and as some online logs may be deleted after a short period, such as 30 days.
If You Choose Not to Investigate here are some steps that may help: Taking the following steps may erase potential evidence, so proceed only if you decide against a legal investigation or you have legal advice on which steps are approved to perform.
- Disconnect from the Internet: Immediately place your iPhone or Mac in Airplane Mode to cut off remote access by the hacker.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Secure your Apple ID, email, and other sensitive accounts with two-factor authentication. A hardware token like Yubico Security Key is recommended due to its robust security (make sure you don’t share or lose the key).
- Change Passwords: Using a different secure device, change your Apple ID password and other critical passwords (email, social media, banking and so forth). Employ a password manager with secure two-factor authentication for added protection.
- Disconnect Active Sessions: Ensure that you logout all active sessions related to your Apple ID and other accounts.
- Securely Backup Your Data: Before wiping your devices, back up your data securely.
- Wipe the iPhone/Mac: Perform a factory reset on your devices to eradicate any malicious software.
- Avoid Restoring from a Backup: To prevent potential reinfection, avoid restoring your devices from previous backups.
- Check for Unusual Activity: Regularly monitor your accounts for any unauthorised access or transactions.
- Update iOS/MacOS: Always keep your devices updated with the latest software for security enhancements.
Preventative Measures: If you haven’t experienced a hack, now is the time to add robust two-factor authentication and bolster the security of your accounts. Stay vigilant and proactive in safeguarding your digital presence.