If you have updated to iOS11 then your phone is at potential security risk. Your privacy is vulnerable thanks to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings of iOS 11.
It’s obvious to keep your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off on your phone when you don’t use them. It’s a good practise and also recommended for security reasons. We all know that Bluetooth is quite vulnerable, just one mistake and hackers can get into your phone. However, it seems that engineers at Apple are not aware of such vulnerabilities of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The latest iOS 11 update has made it harder for people to control Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings.
To keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off, users swipe up to open control central and toggle to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as a result icons changes their colour from blue to gray, and users believe that they have turned off these settings.
Till iOS 10, it’s still true but in iOS 11 it is partly true. What actually happens in iOS 11 is that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi get turned off for all devices except for Apple devices like Apple Pencil or Watch. These features also stay on for all Apple services like location services, Handoff and Instant Hotspot without the knowledge of the user. Apart from security threats, features like this also drain battery. The Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called this feature misleading and bad for user security.
Wish this was just limited to this; there are some more annoying feature updates in iOS 11 which makes it more vulnerable. For instance, when you walk to a new location, the Wi-Fi gets on automatically even when you’d just put it off a few minutes back at your old location.
The only way user could keep both these settings off is by enabling Airplane Mode or by going into Settings and then disabling Wi-Fi or Bluetooth features from there.
Another vulnerability that has been added in this update is that both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi get on at 5:00 AM every morning automatically. Wish they had not enforced this feature to its users. It’d be better if users could choose this and let it on or off as per their convenience.
In our opinion, when UI and internal settings of the device behave differently, risk of potential security and privacy threat become higher. We believe that Apple found it tempting to let its users keep connected to other Apple products by compromising its customer’s privacy and security.
This is big loophole and but also not the hard one to fix. New forms of attack would pop up if Apple doesn’t fix this problem. At least, iOS 11 should inform the users that turning Wi-Fi or Bluetooth off won’t keep them disconnected from other Apple devices and services. Being transparent to customers should be priority of every company otherwise it might result in a loss of trust.
This confusing feature has drawn lot of criticism from the users and tech websites. We hope that Apple will take action on this soon.
Apple had been drawing irk from many quarters for a long time. In the past updates too, Apple had been criticized for bringing features that did not impress its users.