Siri’s Security Problem: What Everyone Needs to Know
For some, Siri is a fun feature to use on their iPhone. For others, it’s a utilitarian tool. I use Siri mainly as a tool, but sometimes, I have fun with my kids asking questions and waiting to see what Siri says in response. That said, did any of you know that Siri is actually a liability for your data’s security? In researching this article, that’s exactly what the Yoursphere For Parents editorial team found out.
If you’ve used Siri, you know it can do just about anything, from reading texts to searching the internet, but what you may not have known is that Siri can still perform most of these tasks while your phone is locked. It won’t tell you your passcode if you ask, but the range of things it will do is remarkable. When we tested this in the office, we found that on our locked phones we managed to ask Siri to add and edit notes, send a text, read old texts, view contacts, call someone, post a new Facebook status, and even navigate to your house.
Now that last point is certainly the most disconcerting but it is also the easiest to fix. If your phone can navigate you to a specific address simply by asking Siri to take you home, you must have, at some point, added your address to your contact information. Simply open the Contacts app, find your information, and delete your address.
Clearly this is a major security issue and, unfortunately, there’s no way to limit specifically what Siri can or can’t access. However, you can make it so that you have to unlock your phone before being able to use Siri. To do so, go to Settings, tap Passcode (you will be asked to enter your passcode), scroll down until you see Siri, and switch it off. Congratulations, you’ve closed this security gap.
Siri is a fun tool, but if the convenience of accessing it without unlocking your phone isn’t so important to you, you may want to disable this function. Unless you don’t mind others possibly updating your Facebook status or browsing your texts, there really isn’t an alternative.
For your kids, it’s important that you educate them about this issue with Siri. Let them know what their friends could potentially do if they have their phone. This is another reason they should be mindful of sharing their phone with their friends. If this isn’t a concern for you, or your child, you may want to at least start deleting any texts, notes, or recent calls you don’t want anyone else to be reading.