Government Officials Bring in Security Experts to Test iOS 7's Activation Lock Feature

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    After launching an investigation into the anti-theft practices of smartphone manufacturers like Apple, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón will today test how Apple's Activation Lock feature holds up against determined thieves, reports CNET.

    First introduced at WWDC, Activation Lock is designed to prevent Find My iPhone from being deactivated, which keeps stolen iPhones from being wiped and reactivated. The feature is included in iOS 7, which is expected to be released to consumers this fall.

    Gascón and Schneiderman are planning to bring in security experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to attempt to bypass Activation Lock in order to gain access to an iPhone. The security team will also test the Lojack for Android software on a Samsung Galaxy S4.
    The two officials have pushed for greater anti-theft measures from cell phone manufacturers after a spike in mobile device thefts. While carriers agreed last year to develop a centralized database to track stolen phones, it has proven to be largely ineffectual. Both Gascón and Schneiderman have stated that they believe Activation Lock is an inadequate theft deterrent and Gascón has urged Apple to implement a "kill switch" that would permanently disable stolen iOS devices.

    The results of the Activation Lock investigation are expected to be released later today.

    Article Link: Government Officials Bring in Security Experts to Test iOS 7's Activation Lock Feature
  2. Aussi3 macrumors 6502


    Jun 3, 2012
    Facesticks on the App store
  3. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    I look forward to this feature... my brother's iPhone was just stolen and a feature like this would probably have helped denture the thief from using the device on their own.

    I'm glad more eyes will be on this to ensure it does what it's supposed to do.
  4. gotluck macrumors 603


    Dec 8, 2011
    East Central Florida
    So I take it a DFU Restore does not bypass the lock (otherwise it would already be broken)? That is good news.

    Quite surprising really.
  5. aheying7 macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Couldn't the thief just jalibreak the phone or put it DFU mode or something?
  6. rmatthewware macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2009
    This isn't their job. Doesn't the government have more important work to do?
  7. DustyLBottoms macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2009
  8. slrandall macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2011
    Why is this something the government needs to be involved in? If Apple can't protect consumers themselves, then people might not want to buy an iPhone with their next purchase.

    Apple, known for jumping through all sorts of hoops to keep any remotely negative experience away from the iEcosystem, has far more incentive to deter theft than the government.
  9. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    How does this work. Do we just use find my iphone to wipe the phone?
  10. madsci954 macrumors 68030

    Oct 14, 2011
    They can't crack iMessages, so I doubt they'll crack Activation Lock.
  11. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2009
    Because I'm sure they want a back door. Can't have stolen phones, but they still want on demand access to your device. Political jab aside, this is pretty unnecessary. I don't see lo-jack being mandatory on all new cars, or remote kill switches.
  12. madsci954 macrumors 68030

    Oct 14, 2011
    If the phone is wiped in any way (iCloud remote wipe, reset from Settings, DFU restore), if Find My iPhone is on, you HAVE to enter the iCloud credentials of the original owner to move past it. You also have to enter the iCloud credentials to disable Find My iPhone.
  13. nzalog macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2012
    Oh so glad the government is getting involved... I mean I trust them more than Apple. :rolleyes:


    Spying on us is so June 2013 government, this is good guy July 2013 gubment.
  14. wizard, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2013

    wizard macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003
    Unfortunately New York has been taken over by liberal control freaks!

    The problem with stolen merchandise of any type is very easy to solve. You find the criminals and kill them. However NY being run by a bunch of liberal zombies seems to believe that you solve illegal activities by making life difficult for everybody.

    The big problem here is that they are trying to spread their influence nation wide by attacking the likes of Apple outside of their jurisdiction. It really is pathetic actually.
  15. Boomchukalaka macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2009
    "Both Gascón and Schneiderman have stated that they believe Activation Lock is an inadequate theft deterrent and Gascón has urged Apple to implement a "kill switch" that would permanently disable stolen iOS devices."

    These two politicians have been watching too many Mission Impossible reruns: "This tape (phone) will self-destruct in five seconds."
  16. Daalseth macrumors 6502a

    Jun 16, 2012
    Actually I remember hearing a couple of politicians suggesting that police should have the ability to remotely shut down, a kill switch, for all cars. The justification was that it would ' only be used to prevent high speed chases'. Yeah right.
  17. nzalog, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2013

    nzalog macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2012
    Where do these jokers come from. :rolleyes:
  18. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    And yet we still quickly and easily pull all the info from the iPhone just as we have since 1.3 was released years ago. :D
  19. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
    Finally the government is actually helping in a positive way! Test for holes and apple can fill them in.
  20. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    I found it irresponsible for them to make such statement BEFORE completing the test and announcing the results?

    If they understand how Activation Lock works, it IS a so-called "kill-switch". It's just happened to be activated via the Find-my-phone mechanism.
  21. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Samsung didn't make an effort. Lojack is a third party service.
  22. Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    While I agree with very little that the NY Government has done in this area, this is actually something I'm okay with them doing and would appear to fall under the purview of what the government should do for us.

    A company makes a claim about security, but the average citizen has neither the skill or the resources to see if they are right. The only way to know if a company is being honest (with us, or with themselves) is if "the bad guys" break it. But that's a little late to make informed decisions about how you use the device. However, the government has the resources and access to the type of talent required to verify claims of security, or at least more access then the avg citizen.

    Now, what NY decides to do after they've determined that Apple either is or is not correct about how secure it is, that is something else entirely, and I'm bound to start disagreeing with the NY government again. But for the time being I'm willing to use a couple pennies of tax payer* money to see exactly how secure the device is. As long as they aren't making Apple pay for it, it seems like a win for Apple as well. If any vulnerabilities are found they will be able to fix them, and do so before the bad guys do it.

    Here's hoping they can't break it!

    *tax payers of NY. As a WA citizen I am of course happy to see them pay for it. Though I wouldn't have a problem with the fed doing it either.
  23. donutbagel macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2013
    They did advertise that Samsung is safe for business. That'll keep the intruders out.
  24. IbisDoc macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2010
    As long as you promise to never call the police and use those finite resources when something of yours is stolen, your stance is not hypocritical.
  25. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    I hope Activation Lock turns out to be as good in reality as it sounded in the keynote. Something like this has been needed for a long time. While I'm sure it will eventually be cracked, at least it might make the iPhone less of a target for the average thief for a while.

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