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Safe At Home

Safe At Home
by Gary Woods

We store a lot of stuff on our smartphones and most of it is there for the taking from anybody who wanders by and picks up our devices. You can protect your device with a security code but most of us don't.

Apple made a big step for security in implementing Touch ID on the iPhone 5s which allows you to get into the phone with a fingerprint. But, according to a patent filing they're looking at other measures to protect our incredibly important stuff. The gist of the patent filing has to do with "location-sensitive security levels and setting profiles based on detected location."

What this means is depending on where you are the iPhone can adjust access levels. For example, a user may only need a simple four-digit password to unlock a device while at home. But, it might require Apple's Touch ID when in public areas like a shopping mall.

So how does it know where you are? Apple suggests that it could be a combination of elements including cell tower data, recognition of a home Wi-Fi network, GPS data or even proximity to other cellphones.

Recognized locations could set low-level security factors, while unrecognized locations may trigger more stringent authentication requirements. This means that areas recognized as "unsecure" like public Wi-Fi in geo-fenced areas would not be on the trusted list and therefore could invoke higher strength security factors.

Other areas that may invoke increased security measures could be your car which could invoke things like being able to dial 911 and playing music while disabling other features.

Security is a big topic and getting more important daily. It's good to see that Apple is out there helping keep our stuff away from the bad guys.

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Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc