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Apple's iOS 7 Activation Lock feature to be tested by US government officials

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Security experts on Thursday will conduct a government-sponsored test of the latest anti-theft security features built into Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S4, including the forthcoming Activation Lock feature from iOS 7.

activation


According to a report from CNET, San Francisco District Attorney George Gasc?n and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have contracted experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to try and thwart Apple and Samsung's security systems.

"While we are appreciative of the efforts made by Apple and Samsung to improve security of the devices they sell, we are not going to take them at their word," Schneiderman and Gasc?n said in a prepared statement. "Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves."

The experiment was announced as part of Schneiderman and Gasc?n's Secure Our Smartphone (S.O.S.) initiative that looks to protect smartphone owners from violent theft and thievery known as "Apple picking."

The test is supposedly set up to mimic the real world scenario in which a stolen device is deactivated prior to resale on the black market. Apple's Activation Lock, which will be baked into the upcoming iOS 7, the original Apple ID and password used to activate the device are needed to to turn off Find My iPhone, wipe the phone's data, or re-activate it after being deactivated.

In June, Schneiderman and Gasc?n were optimistic about Apple's anti-theft initiative, but cautioned they "reserve judgment on the activation lock feature until we can understand its actual functionality." Thursday's test is an apparent effort toward gleaning that information.

"Finding technical solutions that will remove the economic value of stolen smartphones is critical to ending the national epidemic of violent street crimes commonly known as 'Apple Picking,'" the two officials said.

Results are slated to be in by the end of the day.
post #2 of 9
The trouble is that thieves can still sell the phones for parts. So ultimately. These cities need to step up police coverage etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The trouble is that thieves can still sell the phones for parts. So ultimately. These cities need to step up police coverage etc

 

It's a deterrent against theft and a method for ensuring information security.  No one said it was a magical way to stop theives form being thieves.  

 

Most North American cities are already over policed also.  

post #4 of 9
Yeah when you can sell a 'faulty' iPhone on ebay for spares, and still get several hundred pounds for it, it is always going to be attractive to thieves
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The trouble is that thieves can still sell the phones for parts. So ultimately. These cities need to step up police coverage etc

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinneal View Post

Yeah when you can sell a 'faulty' iPhone on ebay for spares, and still get several hundred pounds for it, it is always going to be attractive to thieves

 

I'm pretty sure most iPhones are stolen to be resold as a functioning device, not for parts. Especially the iPhone 5 which is not nearly as easy to repair. And if crooks start stealing iPhones for parts then soon there will be a surplus of parts and the prices will drop to nothing. This will have a significant impact on iPhone theft.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The trouble is that thieves can still sell the phones for parts. So ultimately. These cities need to step up police coverage etc

It would be great if Apple came out with a database so that users could to go an fill out so that if an apple product was stolen that we could submit the information about the stolen device and then companies and individuals could look up the serial number of a product to see if it was a stolen product or not.


What I envision is we fill out a database or a database is filled out during the setup process, then if we sell the product the user can go to the database and put in the new owner's information or we can simply type in that the product was stolen so that if it pops up somewhere people can type in the serial number and it spits back on whether the product is stolen or not.  I know it may not be the perfect answer, but at least it's a way to have products signed up in a database that people can look up whether something is stolen or not.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The trouble is that thieves can still sell the phones for parts. So ultimately. These cities need to step up police coverage etc

The value as "parts" is a far cry from the phone's value as a functioning iPhone. Furthermore, since it cannot be tested to determine why it is non-functional, its value is even further lessened. Finally, thieves by their nature want an easy conversion to cash, the iPhone will be an even less desired item to heist.

 

Now, let's see if the Samsung Android can stand up to the testing since Android is much harder to bake in security. This is a "do or die" for Samsung because if their phone fails the testing, they can also get dropped from the Federal buying contract. 

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

It would be great if Apple came out with a database so that users could to go an fill out so that if an apple product was stolen that we could submit the information about the stolen device and then companies and individuals could look up the serial number of a product to see if it was a stolen product or not.


What I envision is we fill out a database or a database is filled out during the setup process, then if we sell the product the user can go to the database and put in the new owner's information or we can simply type in that the product was stolen so that if it pops up somewhere people can type in the serial number and it spits back on whether the product is stolen or not.  I know it may not be the perfect answer, but at least it's a way to have products signed up in a database that people can look up whether something is stolen or not.

Most people that buy a phone for a few bucks for parts don''t care if the phone is hot or not. They aren't going to use the part that has a serial number on it. 

 

What you propose is a kind of mental masturbation.

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Most people that buy a phone for a few bucks for parts don''t care if the phone is hot or not. They aren't going to use the part that has a serial number on it. 

What you propose is a kind of mental masturbation.

"A few bucks'? It's amazing to see iPhones which have obvious damage and are completely non-working going for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Of course, that may have to do with Apple's $200 exchange policy.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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