Apple thieves target passcodes before snatching iPhones

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Apple No other firm comes close to Apple’s renown when it comes to premium goods.

Apple iPhones have been among the most popular products on the market.

As a result, if left unprotected, it might be the focus of numerous robbers eager to steal one from its owners.

But, thieves nowadays have adopted a new strategy to their criminal activities.

According to reports, iPhone thieves are increasingly looking for a victim’s passcode before making their move.

The news

According to The Wall Street Journal, iPhone thieves are eavesdropping on their victims’ passcodes before stealing the Apple gadget.

They will then reset the settings, denying access to the owners.

Victims have reported having their Apple iPhones snatched from their hands in public places such as pubs, only to find themselves locked out.

Thieves who are familiar with passcodes can quickly reset the victim’s Apple ID password.

They can also disable the Find My iPhone function, leaving users in the dark and unable to monitor their iPhones.

Users are also unable to erase additional devices linked to their Apple account.

Furthermore, criminals can add a recovery key, removing the victim’s access to account recovery.

More than an isolated case

There were waves of reports, all claiming the same problem.

For example, one victim stated that a thief used the last four digits of their Social Security number in images to obtain an Apple Card.

Meanwhile, another woman permanently lost all of her family photographs.

The vast majority of victims have already made police reports.

In one example, a victim filed an identity theft claim with the Federal Trade Commission, citing their loss.

Apple acknowledges the situation

With so many victims reporting the same issue, Apple is scurrying to devise backup strategies.

According to a spokeswoman, the iPhone is the most secure consumer mobile device on the market.

They went on to say that the company is working “tirelessly” to protect against new and emerging threats.

“We sympathize with users who have had this experience, and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how rare,” said the spokeswoman.

“We will continue to advance the protections to help keep user accounts secure.”

According to an Apple spokeswoman, the recent round of thefts is unusual since it involves the theft of both the device and the password or passcode.

Read also: Why Cybersecurity has become more important than ever

Preventing theft

When generating passwords for devices and accounts, most systems advocate using a strong, unique password.

The passcode, on the other hand, represents a distinct weak link, especially when users choose a short string of numbers for convenience.

Despite recent Apple upgrades, the problem persists.

Apple announced additional means of protecting the Apple ID, such as hardware security keys.

While entering a passcode, Apple recommends using Face ID and putting your palm over the screen.

When Face ID (or Touch ID for previous models) fails, the phone demands a password.

The passcode appears when unlocking the device, enabling Apple Pay, and activating the iCloud Keychain password manager.

Course of actions

It is tough to avoid theft, but Apple device owners may make it more difficult for those who choose to do it.

Screen cover

According to law enforcement, criminals frequently develop ways to get people’s passcodes.

Others would even go so far as to videotape their targets from a safe distance.

Users should utilize Face ID or Touch ID in public to prevent criminals from adding them to their list.

When a password or passcode is necessary, it is advised that they enter them in like ATM pins.

Passcode strength

Using six digits is a recommended practice, according to Adam Aviv, an associate professor of computer science at George Washington University.

Longer, more complicated passcodes will be more difficult to “shoulder surf,” according to Aviv.

Apple device owners should utilize alphanumeric passcodes.

Adding a brief auto-lock is also recommended, making it more difficult for thieves to modify anything.

Additional protection

Most online banking applications require passcodes, and experts advise creating one that is distinct from the iPhone.

Users may also set up a Screen Time passcode to enable account limits, similar to how parents do with their children’s gadgets.

Third-party password manager

Although Apple’s built-in iCloud Keychain password manager is useful, passwords saved with the passcode may also be viewed.

As a result, fraudsters can gain access to bank accounts on the iPhones of their victims.

Users can, however, utilize a third-party password manager that supports biometric identification, such as 1Password or Dashlane.

Delete traces of sensitive information

Some users are forgetful and may utilize images of sensitive information, such as forms including their Social Security number.

As a result, it is prudent to erase copies of such papers.

Users can also employ secure file storage in third-party password managers as an option.

Act quickly if phone is stolen

If an iPhone is stolen, the owner must act swiftly by signing in to iCloud from another device in order to locate their device and wipe it clean.

To prevent criminals from obtaining verification codes, they can simply phone their carrier or go to a retail location and have the sim disabled.