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

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:43PM EST
iOS 7 Security Flaw

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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 Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.