U.S. State and federal governments test Apple’s iOS 7 activation lock feature

“Apple and Samsung’s latest smartphones will face the scrutiny of state and federal prosecutors in San Francisco on Thursday, who plan to test the latest in antitheft security,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET. “San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are testing the latest security features of Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 to see whether they can stop thieves who have made off with said devices.”

“In the iPhone 5’s case, the group will have security experts attempting to thwart Apple’s activation lock feature, which requires users to have a specific Apple ID username and password to use the device,” Lowensohn reports. “For the Galaxy S4, experts are evaluating Lojack for Android, a $29.99 per year application that can remotely lock the phone and delete personal data.”

Lowensohn reports, “Gascón and Schneiderman say the group will bring in experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to try to bypass the measures, and gain access to the devices as if they were someone who had stolen the phone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Keystone Cops. And, how does an optional US$29.99 per year app absolve Google and their affiliated handset assemblers from responsibility? A third-party app is not a “security feature” of a Samsung phone (the fact that it’s a Samsung phone, in fact, is better theft prevention that anything in its patent-infringing skinned OS).

The average Fragmandroid settler would hand over his or her mom before ponying up 99-cents, much less $29.99/year.

Related articles:
Mobile Threats Report: Android accounts for 92% of all mobile malware – June 26, 2013
Latest self-replicating Android Trojan looks and acts just like Windows malware – June 7, 2013
99.9% of new mobile malware targets Android phones – May 30, 2013
Mobile malware exploding, but only for Android – May 14, 2013
Mobile malware: Android is a bad apple – April 15, 2013
F-Secure: Android accounted for 96% of all mobile malware in Q4 2012 – March 7, 2013
New malware attacks Android phones, Windows PCs to eavesdrop, steal data; iPhone, Mac users unaffected – February 4, 2013
FBI issues warning over Android malware attacks – October 15, 2012
Researchers discover serious flaw in Android app security, say HTC and Samsung ignore issue – September 28, 2012
Apple’s iPhone has passed a key security threshold – August 13, 2012
Android permissions flaw allows eavesdropping, data theft, location tracking – December 2, 2011
Massive HTC Android security flaw leaves security expert speechless – October 2, 2011
Apple’s iOS unaffected by malware as Android exploits surge 76% – August 24, 2011
Android malware records phone calls; iPhone users unaffected – August 2, 2011
Symantec: Apple iOS offers ‘full protection,’ Google Android ‘little protection’ vs. malware attacks – June 29, 2011
Malware apps spoof Android Market to infect Android phones – June 21, 2011
Google forced to pull several malware-infested apps from Android market – June 8, 2011
Android malware sees explosive growth; even faster than with PCs – April 27, 2011
Virus-laden apps infest Google’s ‘open’ Android platform; iPhone unaffected – March 3, 2011
Security firm warns of new Android trojan that can steal personal information; iPhone unaffected – December 30, 2010
Trojan infects Android smartphones; iPhone unaffected – August 10, 2010
Millions of Android phone users slammed by malicious data theft app – July 29, 2010
Unlike proactive Apple, reactive Google doesn’t block malware from Android app store – June 4, 2010
Malware designed to steal bank information pops up in Google’s Android app store – January 11, 2010

27 Comments

  1. If someone steals your android phone they are doing you a huge favor and you should thank them! Now you have a chance to file an insurance claim and get the real iPhone instead of a fake one.

  2. I ran into this full little relevant article the other day, well worth reading:

    Five simple ways to avoid Android malware
    http://www.zdnet.com/five-simple-ways-to-avoid-android-malware-7000017463/

    1) Don’t visit, and whatever you do download, materials from suspicious Web sites.

    2) Don’t download programs from third-party Android stores

    3) Look carefully at any program before you install it to make sure it’s legitimate and it only asks for necessary permissions.

    Standard security good practices so far!

    4) Upgrade, if possible, to the latest version of Android.

    ‘IF POSSIBLE’! Good luck with that. Fragdroid.

    5) Use A/V software.

    OMF. Oh you poor, poor Android victims. 😥

    1. I’m sorry, but nearly a billion Android activations a day proves that’s nothing but a big, fat lie. The overwhelming numbers speak for themselves. At least seven out of ten humans on the planet prefer Android over iOS. Google’s star child is on the rise to fame and fortune.

      1. @ Laughing_Boy48
        little mommy’s boy – your little touts are a sad statement about your intelligence – go home and back to mommy with the plastic crap you hold in hand and cry – boo hoo little boy… oh as we laugh… :0

  3. Thirty dollars? PER YEAR?

    Advantage Apple!

    But, I can almost predict that the government will find a way to spin it so it looks bad for Apple. What was it they were sayinga couple of weeks ago….oh yeah, “the solution does not have a KILL SWITCH”. That is almost certain to come up.

  4. What these idiots don’t understand is that a large portion of thefts are not because someone wants the phone, they’re because you have it. In the hood people don’t take your iPhone because they want to be equipped with the latest in technology, or play Angry Birds. No, mugging you, hurting you, is something to do. Maybe they can sell the phone, maybe not, but taking it from you, particularly the more violent the act, is just fun.

        1. On Tuesday night, a flash mob of some 40 to 50 teenagers invaded the busiest and most tourist-centric part of Hollywood, smashing windows, stealing cellphones, and assaulting passersby.

          No one cares if the phone has security measures.

    1. That’s interesting. I know that, for many of these urban (inner city) gangs, it is, in a way, a rite of passage to mug / rob random people and get their iPhones (without any intent of fencing them later), but I was always under the impression that vast majority of robberies are economically motivated (i.e. the criminal robs someone in order to get their money or valuables which he later tries to sell). And if this is in fact true, then the feature has a chance of reducing the number of thefts. The professional thieves learn very quickly that the iPhone that cannot be wiped and re-activated becomes worthless, so they’ll just move on to the other devices.

      1. Zimmerman’s conclusions were viable. A man was assaulted this evening outside the building I live in. He was hit in the side of the face as he walked his dogs. He was white, the hitter was black, and the comment was “For Trayvon.” I can only imagine the conclusions he will continue to come to for the rest of his life. His fault? Not hardly.

      2. Stereotypes are formed from information, most of which is relayed by others and may or may not be reliable (in most cases, is NOT wholly reliable).

        However, when people reinforce stereotypes by random, illegal and antisocial behavior (in the case that Thelonious relates, the stereotype of “all blacks are unthinking, violent people who are just waiting to attack whites because of the color of their skin,”), the stereotype in question gains credibility by leaps and bounds.

        (Just BTW, _I_ know that the stereotype isn’t true, just as I know that there are many examples of the “white redneck” stereotype out there who WILL believe that it’s true, and who are much more likely, like Thelonious’s example, to take their own brand of “justice” into their own hands. My advice to both groups is to avoid sowing the wind, mostly because the whirlwind generated thereby will likely damage me. A pox on both your houses.)

  5. Next Up, we are going to test this dollar store sneaker against this New Balance running shoe, to see which one makes you faster. OK, grandma, hey grandma, come here, she’s 110, can’t hear real well, ok you put these on and stand at the 50 yard line. Alright, I will put on the dollar shoe and stand on the 1 yard line. OK go, race to the end zone. Yep, the dollar shoe wins!

  6. Why would we need any government body to validate the security of any modern smartphone. Don’t they have more pressing issues, such as the state of the economy, poor educational system, additional destruction of our civil liberties, etc, etc?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.