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Big iOS 7 security flaw could prevent people from recovering stolen iPhones

Zach Epstein
September 19th, 2013 at 11:05 AM
iOS 7 Security Flaw

Apple’s new iOS 7 software wasn’t even available for a day before a potentially serious security flaw was discovered. iOS 7 features several enhancements to Siri as well as a new Control Center, each offering a number of new conveniences. By default, both are also available while the user’s iPhone or iPad is locked. As reported by MacRumors, these conveniences come at a price: Using either the Control Center or Siri, someone who steals an iOS device or finds a lost device can quickly and easily disable Find My iPhone or Find My iPad, thus preventing a user from recovering his or her device.

With a simple Siri command or by swiping up on the lock screen, anyone can enable airplane mode on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, thereby severing the device’s connectivity and disabling Apple’s device recovery service. By default, this can be done whether or not the device is protected by a PIN or passcode.

The same can be done by switching a device off, of course, but there’s an obvious and crucial difference: Enabling airplane mode allows a thief to work on breaking past the PIN code or passcode security without having to worry about the device’s owner discovering its location.

Apple has not yet commented publicly on the security flaw.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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