The recent publication of a U.S. patent that contained a fingerprint sensor for the Apple Watch provoked controversy and rumors that a reinvented Touch ID will be coming to Apple’s wearable device.
These easy steps will help you protect your Apple Watch 5, 4 and even 3 from malicious people who intend to perform Apple Pay transactions with it or access data.
Is it so important to secure your Apple Watch?
A recent study proved that Apple is a bit less trustworthy than Google is when it comes to data encryption. However, Apple has a decent security history when it comes to their smartphones and designated operating system, and it all looks even better when you compare them with relatively insecure Android devices.
The Apple Watch, however, uses a derivative of the iOS: WatchOS.
Many vulnerabilities can impact WatchOS, according to CVE Details (where a total of 473 vulnerabilities were listed). However, there is no reason to panic (yet) because the number of exploits of those vulnerabilities was listed as a precise zero. Also, Apple regularly updates their WatchOS as it does iOS and it also runs a bug bounty program to reward security researchers who discover and report vulnerabilities. Their highest bounty was priced at $1.5 million.
Set a long passcode
The default four digit PIN of your Apple watch is referred to as “Simple Passcode” by Apple since it is far from being secure enough. People tend to use the same PIN for their Apple wearable device as they do for their debit cards, credit cards, SIM cards, smartphone and pretty much everything that requires a four-digit passcode. Reusing a passcode is a very unsafe thing to do, and the same rule applies to PIN codes which are unsafe passwords straight from the start. In order to change your passcode, you have to go to the Watch app on your iPhone and then click on “Passcode”. At this point, you must disable the “Simple Passcode” option and then set a fresh 10-digit code. Theoretically, the longer the pin, the more secure it is. However, the usability factor makes its presence noticed for users who are utilizing a random 10-digit code which is difficult to remember. It’s very unsafe to pick memorable dates since a threat actor can easily guess them from social media information. In case this is too complicated or uncomfortable for you, there’s the option to pick a 6 digit code, which is more secure than the default four-digit code and almost as easy to remember. You can also keep your four-digit code and create an eight-digit code from it: You can make 4321 (example) become 43211234. Imagination is the only limit here.
Add other locking options
Always keep the “Wrist Detection” option turned on. This automatically locks your Apple Watch whenever it’s taken off your hand.
There is also the very smart (but a bit uncomfortable) option to unlock the watch with your iPhone (by turning on the designated option in the settings), which also takes advantage of the wrist detection system and lets users unlock their Apple Watches as long as they are close to their iPhones.