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New AT&T system will allow users to block stolen devices from use

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
AT&T, the second largest carrier in the U.S., is reportedly set to launch a new service next week that will let owners of stolen devices block them from accessing its network.

Once a device has been reported stolen, users who own the handset will be able to deny that device voice, data and text messaging access while keeping their account intact, according to The Verge. The new method would allow users to avoid having to engage a full SIM block, which can be inconvenient and cause disruption in service.

The new security measure is set to launch on July 10, according to a leaked memo from the company. The details shown in the memo state:

  • The line [will] automatically be suspended if any attempt is made to use a device that is stored in the [blocklist].
  • Any stolen phone or tablet may be added to the blocklist.
  • Postpaid, Prepaid (GoPhone), and All Channels included.

If the owner of a stolen phone has a remote wipe functionality, like the one included in Apple's Find My iPhone feature in iCloud, they will need to perform this function before suspending access to that device in order to prevent the thief from viewing their personal information.

Find My iPhone 1


In addition to what the leaked memo states, The Verge was also told that AT&T will not keep a centralized directory of blocked phones. Instead, only the person who originated a block on a device may lift the block, if, for example, they were to get their handset back.

The new AT&T-specific security measure is separate from an initiative announced in April, through which U.S. carriers are cooperating with the Federal Communications Commission to create a database of stolen mobile phones. The goal is to curb the theft of expensive, contract-subsidized smartphones like Apple's iPhone by reducing their value once stolen.

AT&T's new security feature will go beyond smartphones, however, and would also allow customers who may lose their 3G-enabled iPad to also block that device from accessing AT&T's network.
post #2 of 35
Couple of questions-

Could a very large encryption password be remotely turned on to prevent any access to the device except by the owner?
Why can't police use 'find my device' as probably cause to search the location it is shown at... Or can they?
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post #3 of 35
1) I wonder what safeguards they have to prevent errors and "spiteful" submissions.

2) While I do like this profession I don't think it adds more than a minor hurdle to those stealing phones y like there is a worldwide blacklist service in place. iNterpool?

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post #4 of 35
So my iPhone, which is linked to my number, goes missing. I can block that device (the linkage proving my authority over it) while keeping my number open to be used in another device. Great.

Until my missing iPhone is unlocked and put on simplemobile, tmobile etc. because they will not be alerted about the loss. And Apple won't do anything unless I file a police report and they are willing to take to Apple on my behalf etc. and even then the best they are likely to do is deny any service paid or unpaid on the lost phone because no one can prove the new owner was the thief or knew it was stolen goods.

Well I guess even this baby step is better than nothing

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post #5 of 35
I'll say it again,

What we need is a password to "power off device" so the we may use all the features of iCloud's "find my iPhone" then we could utilize the AT&T features on the wiped phone.

The device has to be on in order for this sort of plan to work properly With Apple's features in unison with the new AT&T new block.
post #6 of 35

This is only effective when there is a central database that all carriers lookup and or write to.  I think this was where the FCC was going.  BTW, this was available on the old cellular networks when the devices cost more because AMPS and CDMA used an ESN which was used as part of the activation.  Since the IMSI (and subscription to the user) is tied to the SIM, the device is just a host and until recently couldn't be tracked (downside of the GSM technology).  The EIR will do this function but until they are all tied together , it is all relatively useless.

post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephanJobs View Post

I'll say it again,
What we need is a password to "power off device" so the we may use all the features of iCloud's "find my iPhone" then we could utilize the AT&T features on the wiped phone.
The device has to be on in order for this sort of plan to work properly With Apple's features in unison with the new AT&T new block.



Two issues:

1) if your touchscreen is completely locked up you can reboot your device until the battery dies. If one can patent a method for allowing the hard off to instead only send a reboot command and the standard slick to turn off (with PIN) being the only way to turn it off then it might be feasible.

However, there is still next issue:

2) Removing the SIM card will display the cellular access.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 35

The SIM contains the user's identification. The device has its own built in identification. I can't think of a reason why the AT&T plan wouldn't work. Who says it's tied to a SIM?

post #9 of 35
All well and good until the stolen device is shipped to another country or used on another carrier.
post #10 of 35

I don't think the overseas market is that big a market for thieves.  eBay maybe, but it's not a big changer, as most thieves sell locally.

 

GSM networks always had this issue, Sprint and Verizon had it easy as their phones are tied to their networks so every phone can be easily tracked and stopped.  Verizon is going to have the headache as they move all their devices to LTE.


Last April, the "Big 4" announced that they would start a national database of stolen phones.  There is no way to stop it 100%, but it will put a dent in the thieves plans, and makes phones less desirable.  Also, on the flip side, more people will be wary of purchasing phones from people they don't know in case it's a stolen phone that's blacklisted.

post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) I wonder what safeguards they have to prevent errors and "spiteful" submissions.
2) While I do like this profession I don't think it adds more than a minor hurdle to those stealing phones y like there is a worldwide blacklist service in place. iNterpool?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Core2 View Post

This is only effective when there is a central database that all carriers lookup and or write to.  I think this was where the FCC was going.  BTW, this was available on the old cellular networks when the devices cost more because AMPS and CDMA used an ESN which was used as part of the activation.  Since the IMSI (and subscription to the user) is tied to the SIM, the device is just a host and until recently couldn't be tracked (downside of the GSM technology).  The EIR will do this function but until they are all tied together , it is all relatively useless.

"GSMA recognises that mobile phone theft is an issue of public policy concern for network operators, consumers and regulatory authorities. To meet the increased challenges posed by the apparent increase in mobile phone theft levels in some jurisdictions, GSMA has resolved to support and enhance the provision of Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) services and to collaborate with stakeholders to demonstrate the ability of all stakeholders to work together to combat handset theft..."

"The IMEI (“International Mobile Equipment Identifier”) Database application (launched by GSMA in 2005 as updated and amended from time to time (the “Database”), provides functionality to support multiple tiers of read only access to stolen handset data to assist with combating handset theft..." (1)

1. Unattributed. September 2008. IMEI Database 3rd Party Restricted Usage Agreement IMEI. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
Edited by MacBook Pro - 7/6/12 at 1:21pm
post #12 of 35

I'm more interested in how AT&T will counter Verizon's shared data plans...

 

 

edit: typo...

post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

 
Why can't police use 'find my device' as probably cause to search the location it is shown at... Or can they?

 

Becuase most police, at least in big cities, have better things to do with their time than track down your phone. I've had bikes stolen that cost more than any iPhone and the best you can get is a cookie cutter police report that's only good for filing a claim with your insurance company. It's a much more effective strategy to essentially brick the phone remotely and make it worthless than to think you'll ever recover your device.

post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

Couple of questions-
Could a very large encryption password be remotely turned on to prevent any access to the device except by the owner?
Why can't police use 'find my device' as probably cause to search the location it is shown at... Or can they?

It's a good question. If the police suspected that the iPhone was in a den of thieves so to speak, where they may find much more stuff too, could they use the location from 'Find My iPhone' as probable cause to obtain a search warrant or what ever the procedure is? Legal experts ...??
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post #15 of 35

Wiggin is correct.

 

Cops in any medium or larger city generally have better things to do than to track down your phone. Heck, even stolen property like fancy $2000 bicycles isn't that important in the overall scheme of things.

 

Auto theft? Yes, because the vehicles themselves are worth much more than phones and bicycles plus there is an enormous industry in illegally obtained parts.

 

Even copper theft is more important than cellphone theft. Copper thieves are often destroying public property, things like street lights, public transit systems, schools, etc. when they steal copper. A bunch of dead street lights are A.) unsafe, and B.) create a blighted neighborhood which in turn reduces property values.

 

Now if there have been a string of residential burglaries in the same vicinity within a short period of time, it might be worth it for the police to try to track down a stolen handset, as it might be able to uncover a band of thieves and a larger cache of stolen items. However, for a random phone mugging on the street, it probably isn't worth it for a big-town cop.

 

What these cellular operators really need is a way to remotely destroy a cellphone. Forever. In the very remote chance that the device is later recovered and returned to the rightful owner, perhaps the cell company can offer some sort of credit, etc., but the goal of such a system would be to reduce the frequency of handset theft.

post #16 of 35
@SolipsismX According to the article, you first have to report it stolen... to the police? If so, this should somewhat deter "spiteful submissions"... cheating significant other, etc.
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post #17 of 35

Ya' know, I have had tons of trouble posting to these AI forums ever since they changed the site -- this includes the latest Safari running on OS X Lion, OS X ML, iOS 5.1.1, iO6. Every time I try to post it appears to work differently! I don't have problems posting to any other sites. Likely, it involves the JavaScript manipulation going on when you post or preview. When I quote a post, it usually displays the html of the cost for a second, then renders it... sometimes it just displays an empty area -- with nothing to indicate that a quote was made. Though, in the latter case, if you preview your response, the quoted post will sometimes magically appear. Often there will be no header controls to embellish the post input area (Font, Size, Color, Link, Image, etc.) Das ist Scheiße!

 

Above is how AI formatted a post I entered as:

 

 

 

Quote:
Ya' know, I have had tons of trouble posting to these AI forums ever since they changed the site -- this includes the latest Safari running on OS X Lion, OS X ML, iOS 5.1.1, iO6.
 
Every time I try to post it appears to work differently!  I don't have problems posting to any other sites.
 
Likely, it involves the JavaScript manipulation going on when you post or preview.  When I quote a post, it usually displays the html of the cost for a second, then renders it... sometimes it just displays an empty area -- with nothing to indicate that a quote was made.  Though, in the latter case, if you preview your response, the quoted post will sometimes magically appear.
 
Often there will be no header controls to embellish the post input area (Font, Size, Color, Link, Image, etc.)
 
Das ist Scheiße!

 

 

I've gotten in the habit of copying my posts before I preview or submit them.

 

There were no edit controls when I posted the original -- but they are there, now.

 

So I will ad some emphasis I couldn't include in the original:

 

 

Das ist Scheiße!


Edited by Dick Applebaum - 7/6/12 at 12:31pm
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post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ya' know, I have had tons of trouble posting to these AI forums ever since they changed the site -- this includes the latest Safari running on OS X Lion, OS X ML, iOS 5.1.1, iO6. Every time I try to post it appears to work differently! I don't have problems posting to any other sites. Likely, it involves the JavaScript manipulation going on when you post or preview. When I quote a post, it usually displays the html of the cost for a second, then renders it... sometimes it just displays an empty area -- with nothing to indicate that a quote was made. Though, in the latter case, if you preview your response, the quoted post will sometimes magically appear. Often there will be no header controls to embellish the post input area (Font, Size, Color, Link, Image, etc.) Das ist Scheiße!

 

The other day I hit Quote and it wouldn't work. I tried on several posts in several forums. So I went back and hit reply and I got the other person's comment in triplicate.

 

Shortly thereafter everything seemed to begin working normally.

na na na na na...
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post #19 of 35

Not to mention the still-broken smiley widget.

 

lol.gif

post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

 

The other day I hit Quote and it wouldn't work. I tried on several posts in several forums. So I went back and hit reply and I got the other person's comment in triplicate.

 

Shortly thereafter everything seemed to begin working normally.

 

Yep!  I think that AI's servers are involved in the problem too -- I'd be willing to bet that JavaScript sends some of your content to AI's servers in the formatting/quoting/previewing/posting process... but I am too lazy to wade through the bowels of their markup/programming to debug their site.

 

Right now, there is no "cancel" link/button, so there is no easy way to abandon this post.

 

Also, sometimes when editing a post, it doesn't recognize that you have entered anything... and shows a dialog saying you must enter something... The only way you can get around some of these issues is close the window or close Safari.

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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #21 of 35
My granddaughter got her iPhone back in Syracuse that say. Cop went to the house, rang the doorbell, and asked for the return of the phone the person had "found." end of story.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Not to mention the still-broken smiley widget.

 

lol.gif

 

Ahh... Smilies are tough... they will be supported in the "Pro" version -- sometime in October of some year  :(

 

Oddly, I have less trouble dictating from my iPad (iOS 6) then keying text.

"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #23 of 35

Shouldn't this system have been devised when phones were first equipped with ESNs? Which means since the early 80s? 

post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMacGuy View Post

My granddaughter got her iPhone back in Syracuse that say. Cop went to the house, rang the doorbell, and asked for the return of the phone the person had "found." end of story.

 

Ohh... that patrolman will make sergeant or even chief... on his way to POTUS

"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #25 of 35

About f'in time. This is the least that they could do

post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Shouldn't this system have been devised when phones were first equipped with ESNs? Which means since the early 80s? 

 

I'm pretty sure cellphone theft wasn't as prevalent in the early 80s.

 

Should it have been implemented ten years ago? I think so, but I'm not surprised U.S. mobile operators are slow in innovating. I would also not be surprised if mobile operators in other countries had been antitheft procedures.

 

US cellular companies are pathetically backwards.

post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMacGuy View Post

My granddaughter got her iPhone back in Syracuse that say. Cop went to the house, rang the doorbell, and asked for the return of the phone the person had "found." end of story.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

 

Ohh... that patrolman will make sergeant or even chief... on his way to POTUS

 

Reminds me of the story of the bellboy at a luxury hotel who accidentally walked in on a woman in the bathtub -- he quickly shut the door and said "Sorry Sir!".

 

??? I tried to post the reply immediately above -- but it disappeared... so I went back and quoted @OldMacGuy and Shazam!  There's my reply showing as a quote.

 

Starting now I am going to denote AI forum problems in larger red text.

 

Here's another... when creating or editing a post you cannot do anything with any text you highlight (right click on OS X, select on iOS) search the web, define, spell check.  AI's editor seems to be intercepting/interpreting keystrokes from the text area.

 

 

AI... Could we please go back to the Windows 7 version of your site?

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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #28 of 35

Hey this is a novel idea. Oh wait. It's been done before. European operators have been doing this for years...

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

@SolipsismX According to the article, you first have to report it stolen... to the police? If so, this should somewhat deter "spiteful submissions"... cheating significant other, etc.

 

 

Nowhere does the article say that you need to report the theft to the police.  

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMacGuy View Post

My granddaughter got her iPhone back in Syracuse that say. Cop went to the house, rang the doorbell, and asked for the return of the phone the person had "found." end of story.

 

Not saying it can't be done, but it'd be far more effective to make the phones a less attractive target for theft in the first place. The person who had your granddaughter's phone was probably a one-time opportunist thief, not a regular, dozens of phones a month thief. Those guys would never get caught with the phone.

post #31 of 35
Hear! Hear! to all below statements. The effort it takes to post takes away the fun. Doens't matter if I use the old BBeditor or not. Replying, multi-quoting, it became 'an effort' after this Huddler Tech was implemented. Indeed, please go back to the Windows 7 aka vBulletin version for the forum to work properly. The only way for me to post is to (multi)quote, copy the whole thing to TextEdit.app, write nd edit in there and copy-paste it back to Safari. On iOS I don't even bother anymore, although dictating on iPad works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ya' know, I have had tons of trouble posting to these AI forums ever since they changed the site -- this includes the latest Safari running on OS X Lion, OS X ML, iOS 5.1.1, iO6. Every time I try to post it appears to work differently! I don't have problems posting to any other sites. Likely, it involves the JavaScript manipulation going on when you post or preview. When I quote a post, it usually displays the html of the cost for a second, then renders it... sometimes it just displays an empty area -- with nothing to indicate that a quote was made. Though, in the latter case, if you preview your response, the quoted post will sometimes magically appear. Often there will be no header controls to embellish the post input area (Font, Size, Color, Link, Image, etc.) Das ist Scheiße!

Above is how AI formatted a post I entered as:

I've gotten in the habit of copying my posts before I preview or submit them.

There were no edit controls when I posted the original -- but they are there, now.

So I will ad some emphasis I couldn't include in the original:


Das ist Scheiße!

Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

The other day I hit Quote and it wouldn't work. I tried on several posts in several forums. So I went back and hit reply and I got the other person's comment in triplicate.

Shortly thereafter everything seemed to begin working normally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Not to mention the still-broken smiley widget.

lol.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Ahh... Smilies are tough... they will be supported in the "Pro" version -- sometime in October of some year  1frown.gif

Oddly, I have less trouble dictating from my iPad (iOS 6) then keying text.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



??? I tried to post the reply immediately above -- but it disappeared... so I went back and quoted @OldMacGuy and Shazam!  There's my reply showing as a quote.

Starting now I am going to denote AI forum problems in larger red text.

Here's another... when creating or editing a post you cannot do anything with any text you highlight (right click on OS X, select on iOS) search the web, define, spell check.  AI's editor seems to be intercepting/interpreting keystrokes from the text area.


AI... Could we please go back to the Windows 7 version of your site?
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post #32 of 35
How about a command to short the battery to ground and burn the phone/tablet into molten glass, plastic and silicon?

I had a 3GS stolen and was able to see the phone traveling down the I-10. Trigger the meltdown and then wonder how the thief would explain the car fire to the highway patrol?

Imagine the deterrence value after a few hundred toasted thieves turned up at hospitals?

Or, put a dye pack into these devices and blow them. I'd think Apple Green would be a great color.
post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

So my iPhone, which is linked to my number, goes missing. I can block that device (the linkage proving my authority over it) while keeping my number open to be used in another device. Great.
Until my missing iPhone is unlocked and put on simplemobile, tmobile etc. because they will not be alerted about the loss. And Apple won't do anything unless I file a police report and they are willing to take to Apple on my behalf etc. and even then the best they are likely to do is deny any service paid or unpaid on the lost phone because no one can prove the new owner was the thief or knew it was stolen goods.
Well I guess even this baby step is better than nothing

You don't have to prove knowledge on the part of "the new owner" because a thief cannot convey good title. The stolen phone / iPad remains stolen, no mater how many hands it passes through.

And, anybody buying a used iPhone / iPad ought to be a transferee of warranty with Apple (or, just severance from your Apple ID) - absent that step, the buyer should know the deal is dodgy.
post #34 of 35

Things like this makes buying something "second hand" feel scary. What if I paid for a device that I though was my own now, and then the previous owner just shits me by blocking the from being used.
 

post #35 of 35
well I just spoke with an At&t rep and they say the date has been pushed back with no new date on the horizon!

Rusty Greer: I read that starting today, At&t was starting a blocking service for stolen phones.

Rusty Greer: going with the FCC's april announcement.. I figure this is about right

Shelby McClendon: Before we get started,can I please have the last four digits of the account's holder Social Security number?

Rusty Greer: REMOVED

Shelby McClendon: Thank you.

Shelby McClendon: Please just give me a few minutes while I look into this.

Rusty Greer: thank you

Shelby McClendon: You are welcome.

Shelby McClendon: I have pulled up more information about this situation and the launch date has been pushed back.

Rusty Greer: how far?

Shelby McClendon: It does not say.
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