Why You Should Lock Your iPhone with a Password, Not a PIN

If you’re running iOS 11 on your Apple iPhone, make sure you’ve got an alphanumeric password, or at least a six-digit PIN, protecting your lockscreen.

Why? Because that lockscreen passcode may be the only thing standing between you and complete identity theft. With iOS 11, Apple purportedly makes it possible to reset the passwords on both your Apple ID and your iPhone backup in iTunes with only your iPhone’s lockscreen PIN – which isn’t that hard for an attacker to get.

“Once an intruder gains access to the user’s iPhone and knows (or recovers) the passcode, there is no single extra layer of protection left,” wrote Oleg Afonin, a researcher for Russian forensics firm Elcomsoft, in a blog posting last week. “Everything (and I mean, everything) is now completely exposed.”

This means that even a casual thief could use your iPhone to hijack your Apple ID, your iCloud account and any third-party accounts — Google, Facebook, and so on — whose login credentials are stored in your Apple Keychain.

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