Here's how to make it even harder for governments to hack your mobile phone

A US federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI crack the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino killings in California in December.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has responded with a stand, saying the company does not wish to set a “dangerous precedent” for allowing the government to break into phones.

However, as documents from a 2015 court case showed, Apple may have cooperated with the government by unlocking phones up to 70 times in the past.

Which makes their current concern for consumer rights seem a little, well, insincere.

Previous reports have also suggested that governments already have developed their own ways of getting into iPhones without Apple's permission - so how can you, personally, combat this?

Longer passcodes can help - as Quartz highlights, the iPhone is built so that you can only try one passcode every 80 milliseconds - or 45,000 attempts an hour.

  • A four digit passcode has 10,000 possible combinations - meaning it will take a maximum of 13 minutes to crack.

  • A six digit passcode using only numbers will take 22 hours to crack

  • A six digit passcode that uses lower-case letters instead will take 41 weeks

  • If you choose an eight digit passcode including upper and lowercase letters with numbers, it can take up to 7,152 years.

So mix your password up and make it long.

You can also enable a setting which deletes all the phone's data after ten failed attempts, a good deterrent - but don't forget your code!

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