Chinese thieves tunnel their way into a Beijing warehouse, stealing 240 iPhones

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 19, 2015

Nearly $230,000 worth of iPhones have disappeared through a 20-inch hole after a trio of daring thieves tunneled their way into a warehouse, Xinhua News Agency reported earlier in the month.

Three Chinese nationals were arrested on charges of stealing 240 iPhone 6 units, valued at 1.4 million yuan, or approximately $230,000. The suspects were arrested in late December after the police successfully tracked the phones’ serial numbers. Read More

 

California smartphone ‘kill switch’ bill passes state legislature

By Cody Lee on Aug 11, 2014

Earlier this year, California Senator Mark Leno introduced a new bill that would require cellphone makers to install ‘kill switches’ in all of their handsets, rendering them inoperable when stolen. The move comes as smartphone thefts continue to rise in major US cities.

Unsurprisingly, Leno’s bill won Senate approval by a vote of 27-8 today, meaning that it’s just one step away from becoming law in the state of California. All it needs now is Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, and device manufacturers will have essentially a year to comply… Read More

 

Activation Lock helps curb iPhone theft in New York, London and San Francisco

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 19, 2014

You may remember stories from a few years ago that described how iPhone theft was becoming a serious problem. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg even claimed that iPhone thefts had contributed to an overall rise in crime in New York City in 2012. The problem prompted Apple to team up with Google, HTC and others to help put anti-theft measures in place on smartphones.

Apple’s own anti-theft measures appear to be working, as The New York Times reports that police in New York, San Francisco and London are finally seeing a decline in theft of the iPhone. The introduction of Activation Lock on iOS 7 has seen iPhone robberies drop 38 percent in San Francisco, 24 percent in London and 19 percent in New York, based on the six months before and after Apple released the feature…  Read More

 

Proposed CA bill would require antitheft tech in smartphones

By Cody Lee on Feb 8, 2014

The New York Times is reporting that California State Senator Mark Leno plans to introduce a bill that would require all cell phones sold in the state to include antitheft technology. He hopes to curb smartphone thefts—a major problem in larger cities.

The bill is being co-sponsored by San Francisco DA George Gascón, which isn’t surprising considering he’s long been pushing for Apple and other manufacturers to build ‘kill switches’ in their devices. And if it passes, it could go into effect as early as next year… Read More

 

San Francisco DA wants Apple to enable Activation Lock by default on all iPhones

By Cody Lee on Dec 19, 2013

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón released survey results yesterday that he says makes an argument for Apple to enable its Activation Lock security feature on all iPhones. The DA has been publicly leading the charge for a solution to rising cell phone thefts.

Gascón’s survey indicated that 78% of respondents who owned an iPhone have enabled the security feature, and according to him, that’s a clear sign that Apple should begin enabling this tech on all of its phones as a standard. He believes that it should be completely ‘opt out.’ Read More

 

Considerate iPhone thief mails 1000 handwritten contacts to owner

By Cody Lee on Nov 26, 2013

It’s hard to imagine how someone could call a person who stole your iPhone ‘considerate,’ but that’s exactly how some media outlets are referring to a certain Chinese pickpocket. The thief took a man’s iPhone during a shared cab ride.

The reason why some are calling the criminal considerate is that shortly after stealing the handset, he mailed the owner a list of his contacts. And this wasn’t simply a computer printout, he hand wrote over 1000 contacts–11 pages worth… Read More

 

Stealing iPhones is more profitable than crack for San Francisco’s pro thieves

By Ed Sutherland on Aug 21, 2013

We’ve always held that the iPhone can be like a drug, its users addicted to just one more app, just one more high score. Now comes word from the horse’s mouth, so to speak: criminals. Theft of the iPhone and other cellphones is increasing in popularity with criminals who once sold crack cocaine.

Turns out, a new twist on iPhone thefts can be more profitable – let alone, less dangerous – than selling drugs on the street… Read More

 

Smartphone theft fight gains UK support

By Ed Sutherland on Aug 13, 2013

The issue over smartphone thefts has taken on a British flavor. London’s mayor now says he supports calls by American law enforcement officials asking Apple and others to beef up ways to prevent stolen phones.

In a statement, London Mayor Boris Johnson said smartphone makers should “take this issue seriously.” Already, a half-dozen American officials have joined the ‘Secure Our Smartphones’ campaign, stretching from Hawaii to Delaware… Read More

 

Security experts contracted to attempt to bypass iOS 7’s Activation Lock feature

By Cody Lee on Jul 18, 2013

Earlier this year, San Francisco’s district attorney George Gascón met with Apple’s government rep Michael Foulkes to discuss the rising number of iPhone thefts. He felt like the company could be doing more, on a technological level, to thwart these would-be thieves.

Apple responded in a major way. In June, the company introduced a new feature in iOS 7 called Activation Lock, which can prevent thieves from activating a stolen handset without the proper credentials. But while Gascón says he appreciates the effort, he’s not convinced… Read More

 

Prosecutors combine to fight smartphone thefts

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 13, 2013

While its no case of Elliot Ness against Chicago’s rum runners of Prohibition days, prosecutors in two major U.S. cities are teaming up with local police to fight a wave of violent smartphone thefts. Law enforcers Thursday issued an SOS of sorts, or ‘Save Our Smartphones’.

The announcement comes as Apple and other smartphone makers meet with the New York State Attorney General and San Francisco’s District Attorney. It’s unknown whether Apple’s new Activation Lock feature unveiled during Monday’s WWDC keynote as part of iOS 7 will be enough to satisfy calls for handset makers to create a kill switch to disable stolen smartphones… Read More

 
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