Despite Apple’s robust security measures to protect iPhones from cyber attacks, some criminals have found a low-tech way to scam iPhone users out of their money. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that these thieves are using a tactic that involves stealing an iPhone and then tricking the victim into revealing their passcode or password, which is essential for user authentication.
The modus operandi of these criminals is that they try to obtain the victim’s passcode using various methods, such as observing them from a distance or befriending them at a cafe or bar. Once they have the passcode and the stolen iPhone in hand, they quickly block the victim’s access to their Apple account and its contents, including photos and contacts. They also disable the “Find My iPhone” feature to prevent the victim from locating their phone and wiping the data remotely. With these steps complete, the criminals move on to draining the victim’s financial accounts.
Using the victim’s passcode, the criminals change the Apple ID password, effectively locking the victim out of their account and all data stored in iCloud. In addition, the passcode unlocks access to other passwords stored on the device, giving the thieves access to financial services such as Apple Pay and banking apps. Some iPhone users have lost thousands of dollars, with some even having Apple credit cards opened in their names.
According to an Apple spokesperson interviewed by the newspaper, the company considers the iPhone to be the most secure mobile device for consumers. However, they acknowledge the existence of new and evolving threats and assure that they are working diligently to prevent them. The spokesperson expressed sympathy for users affected by crimes that compromise their security and emphasized that Apple takes all attacks on its users seriously, regardless of their frequency. The spokesperson also noted that such crimes are rare because they require both the theft of the device and knowledge of the passcode. Nevertheless, the company remains committed to developing new safeguards to enhance user account security.
As a precaution, iPhone users should be vigilant about their surroundings, protect their passcodes, and avoid lending their phones to strangers. It’s also recommended that users take advantage of Face ID or Touch ID when using their device in public, as this can prevent others from observing their passcodes.