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  • Kyle Chua

Criminals Steal iPhones To Access Apple IDs On The Rise

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Beware, when you lose your iPhone, you're not only losing the device itself but possibly access to your precious data as well.

 EPA
Credit: EPA

According to The Wall Street Journal, cases of iPhone theft have been on the rise, and thieves are exploiting Apple's security measures to lock victims out of their stolen devices.


The thieves would usually hang around bars at night, and watch potential victims tap in their passcodes before stealing their iPhones. Once they have the passcodes, the thieves can change victims' Apple account settings, including their passwords, and reset their recovery keys, complex 28-digit codes that are meant to protect iPhone owners from hackers. Doing these would effectively lock victims out of their own devices and accounts. The thieves would usually then access victims' Apple pay accounts or other financial apps to steal funds and make illegal transactions.


As a security measure, Apple requires you to enter your recovery key to reset or regain access to your Apple ID. However, if a thief changes your recovery key, you won't have access to it, which would lock you out of your own account.


"We sympathise with people who have had this experience and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how rare," an Apple spokesperson told CNN. "We work tirelessly every day to protect our users’ accounts and data, and are always investigating additional protections against emerging threats like this one."

 EPA
Credit: Reuters

While the reported cases have been limited to U.S. cities, all iPhone owners around the world should remain vigilant, considering how any would-be thief can utilise the same exploit. The good news is that if you're an iPhone owner, there are steps you can follow to better protect your account and data.


Protect Your Passcode

Apple told CNN that it recommends you to advantage of Face ID or Touch ID when unlocking your device in public places to prevent others from catching you enter your passcode. You can also make it harder for would-be thieves learn your passcode by making it longer and combining letters with numbers. In case you think someone has seen you enter your passcode, change it immediately.


Set Up A Secondary Password

Another step you can take is to set up a secondary password that would be required for anyone who wants to change any setting on your Apple ID. You can do so by heading to Screen Time, a group of settings on your iPhone designed for parents to set restrictions on the device usage of a child, and enabling the option. That way, when thieves attempt to change your Apple ID password, they'll be required to enter your secondary password.


Back Up Your Data Regularly

Lastly, you shouldn't forget to back up your data regularly either via iTunes or iCloud, so that you don't lose access to your contacts and notes, among others, in the event that your iPhone gets stolen. You may also want to back up more sensitive data, including photos and files, in other cloud storage services, such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, to name a couple of examples. Back ups don't stop thieves from gaining access to your data, but they can soften the blow of losing your device.

 
  • Cases of iPhone theft have been on the rise, and thieves are exploiting Apple's security measures to lock victims out of their stolen devices.

  • The thieves would usually hang around bars at night, and watch potential victims tap in their passcodes before stealing their iPhones.

  • Once they have the passcodes, the thieves can change victims' Apple account settings, including their passwords, and reset their recovery keys, complex 28-digit codes that are meant to protect iPhone owners from hackers.




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