iPhone Passcode Lock Hacked Just in Time for Valentine's Day

A security flaw in Apple's iOS 6.1 software lets hackers bypass iPhone passcode locks. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin spotlights three iPhone security apps that can help protect your data until Apple issues a fix.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you iPhone lovers out there. Just a word of advice: You might want to keep your beloved smartphone close for the time being, because the iPhone passcode lock feature has been hacked.

The Verge was first to report on an iOS 6.1 security hole that makes it possible to bypass the iPhone’s passcode lock. Once your iPhone passcode is hacked, the perpetrator can listen to your voicemail, check out your apps, use your Starbucks card to fill up on caffeine or turn off the Find My iPhone tracking feature. In short: It lets a hacker do just about anything they want with your iPhone.

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As of this writing, Apple hasn’t commented on the bug, but it’s no doubt only a matter of time before the company issues a software fix. In the meantime, there are several third-party apps that can help add another security layer to protect information on your iPhone. Here are three examples:

* Dot Lock Secure (David Lane), $1, lets you use a "dot lock" pattern (similar to some Android phones) instead of the iPhone’s passcode lock to secure your device. The app can also take photos of iPhone thieves and provide other security features. The current version was released July 10, 2012, and has a 2.5-star user rating in the App Store.

* Mobile Vault (Cy Web Solutions) $3, promises AES 256 cryptography security to protect information added to the app’s pre-defined templates for credit card numbers, email accounts, website logins and bank accounts. You can also create unlimited secure folders to organize personal items, including photos. The app has a five-star rating based on six reviews, but it hasn’t been updated since October 31, 2011.

* ContactsPro (Demodit GmbH) $2, lets you hide selected contacts in passcode-protected areas, which you can import into the app from your iPhone’s address book. The app (last updated in December 2012) only received an average rating of 2.5 stars, however. And one example of the kind of secure information you can protect, listed in the app’s iTunes product description, is offensive to say the least.  

Do you use a third-party app to protect sensitive data on your iPhone?

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