The Wall Street Journal’s report reveals that iPhone thieves, who have been observed spying on passcodes before stealing devices, can effortlessly reset settings to prevent rightful owners from accessing their Apple devices. This tactic has left victims stranded, unable to access their accounts after experiencing thefts in public places or having their phones snatched from their hands. In addition to resetting passwords, the thieves can turn off essential features like Find my iPhone, making it impossible for owners to track or remotely erase their stolen devices, and also remove other connected devices from the account.
Furthermore, thieves can even create a recovery key to make it harder for victims to regain control of their accounts. Shockingly, one incident involved a thief opening an Apple Card by exploiting the victim’s Social Security number found in their photos, while another victim suffered the permanent loss of cherished family photos. Despite filing police reports, the majority of victims remain helpless, with only one resorting to filing an identity theft claim with the Federal Trade Commission.
In response to the alarming findings, an Apple spokesperson reassured The Wall Street Journal that despite these incidents, the iPhone remains the most secure consumer mobile device, and the company is continuously working to combat any potential threats that may emerge.
The Apple spokesperson advises iPhone users to protect their devices by utilizing Face ID or Touch ID in public to prevent unauthorized access and covering the screen when entering a passcode. Notably, in New York, authorities have suggested Face ID as an alternative entry point for incapacitated users. Additionally, switching to an alphanumeric passcode is a viable option, which can be easily accomplished in the Settings app.