iPhone users face a huge security risk if they don't update their iCloud settings, according to an investigation by Forbes.

Private messages sent via iMessage are not secure if you use Apple's default settings, which could put you at risk of scammers and hackers.

While these messages are encrypted - and are therefore secure on your device - a flaw in the iCloud backup system means your messages could be accessed away from your phone.

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Apple stores the encryption keys to your messages in iCloud backups, which undermines the security features that keep apps like iMessage secure in the first place, the Daily Star reports.

In the small print of Apple's security policy, the company says: "End-to-end encryption protects your iMessage conversations across all your devices so that there's no way for Apple to read your messages when they're in transit between devices."

That means that, while messages are completely secure while they are sent between phones, they aren't necessarily as private on-device or on the cloud.

Pressure is mounting on Apple to deliver stronger encryption following the leak of FBI documents which show that US intelligence agencies routinely access private data from nine different encrypted messaging services.

To keep your messages secure, you can disable iCloud backups.

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