Guarding Your iPhone: Tips to Protect Against Theft and Prevent Unauthorized Access

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There is a growing trend of a troubling technique that allows individuals to gain control over someone’s iPhone and lock them out of the device permanently.

According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, certain individuals are taking advantage of a security feature on iPhones known as the recovery key. This feature can make it extremely difficult for owners to retrieve their photos, messages, and other data. Several individuals also shared with the publication that their bank accounts were emptied after the criminals managed to infiltrate their financial applications.

It should be noted that this type of takeover is quite challenging to execute. Obtaining access to an iPhone user’s passcode can be achieved through various means, such as discreetly observing them enter it or persuading the device’s owner to share it. And that’s all before they actually take the device.

From there, a thief could exploit the passcode to alter the device’s Apple ID, disable “Find my iPhone” to avoid being traced, and subsequently reset the recovery key, a sophisticated 28-digit code designed to safeguard its owners from cyber attackers.

Apple implements this key as a security measure to assist users in resetting or recovering their Apple ID. However, if an unauthorized individual alters the key, the original owner will be unable to access their account without the updated code.

Apple expressed empathy for individuals who have encountered this situation and emphasized their commitment to addressing any instances of user attacks, regardless of their frequency, according to a statement provided  by an Apple spokesperson. “Our team is dedicated to ensuring the security of our users’ accounts and data. We are constantly exploring new ways to safeguard against emerging threats.”

Apple reminds users of their responsibility to maintain access to their trusted devices and recovery key on their website. If both of these items are lost, there is a possibility of being permanently locked out of your account.

According to Jeff Pollard, a VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, it would be beneficial for the company to expand its customer support options and provide additional methods for Apple users to authenticate and reset their settings.

Currently, there are several measures that users can consider taking to potentially safeguard themselves from experiencing such incidents.

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Protect the passcode

One important measure is to ensure the security of the passcode.

A representative from Apple informed CNN that individuals have the option to utilize either Face ID or Touch ID to unlock their phone in public, thus preventing the disclosure of their passcode to any potential onlookers.

Individuals have the option to establish a more complex and secure passcode, making it significantly more challenging for unauthorized individuals to decipher. It is advisable for device owners to promptly change their passcode if they suspect that someone else may have seen it.

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Adjusting the Screen Time settings

Another option to consider is a method that has been circulating online, although it is not officially endorsed by Apple. Within the Screen Time setting of an iPhone, parents can establish restrictions on their children’s device usage. One of the features available is the ability to set up a secondary password. This password must be entered by any user who wishes to modify the Apple ID associated with the device.

If this feature is enabled, individuals attempting to change an Apple ID password would be required to enter a secondary password.

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Back up phone regularly

In order to ensure data recovery in the unfortunate event of an iPhone theft, it is advisable for users to regularly back up their device using either iCloud or iTunes. Additionally, it may be worth considering storing important photos or other sensitive files and data in another cloud service, such as Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Photos, or Dropbox.

This measure won’t prevent a malicious individual from gaining access to the device, but it can help mitigate some of the consequences in the event that it does occur.

 

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