Apple introduces Stolen Device Protection mode in iOS 17.3 for iPhones to protect against stolen passcodes

  • Stolen Device Protection: Apple introduces a new security mode for iPhones to thwart attacks when passcodes are compromised.
  • Dual Authentication Layer: The feature requires FaceID facial recognition in addition to a passcode for sensitive actions, enhancing security.
  • Location-Based Security: If the phone is in an unusual location, the Stolen Device Protection activates, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Delay in Password Changes: Attackers face a one-hour delay to change Apple ID password or remove FaceID, adding time constraints to unauthorized access.
  • Addressing Social Engineering Scams: The feature aims to counter scams where attackers befriend victims to obtain passcodes, enhancing protection against such social engineering tactics.
  • Opt-In Feature and Availability: Users can enable Stolen Device Mode in the latest iOS 17.3 developer beta, with plans to roll it out to all iPhone users in the coming weeks.
Apple introduces Stolen Device Protection mode in iPhones to protect against stolen passcodes
Image: NBC News

Apple is set to roll out a new security feature called Stolen Device Protection for iPhones, aimed at safeguarding users in case their private passcodes fall into the wrong hands, such as thieves or attackers.

This upcoming feature adds an extra layer of security, making it more challenging for criminals to misuse the passcode when the user’s phone is away from familiar locations like home or work.

Apple Enhances iPhone Security with New Stolen Device Protection Feature

Here’s how it works: If the phone is detected in an unusual location with Stolen Device Protection activated, the device will demand both Apple’s FaceID facial recognition and the passcode for sensitive actions like accessing stored passwords or wiping the phone. This means thieves won’t be able to make critical changes or access certain settings with just the passcode. Additionally, any attempt to alter the user’s Apple ID password or remove FaceID will have a mandatory one-hour delay, followed by another FaceID verification.

The introduction of this feature follows a report by The Wall Street Journal uncovering a scam where attackers befriend or spy on individuals, often in night time social settings, to obtain their passcodes through various means. Subsequently, the stolen passcode is used to disable theft protections like Apple’s Activation Lock feature or Lost Mode, making a pilfered iPhone more lucrative on the black market.

Before this update, Apple tied its privacy and stolen device protections, including the FaceID tool, to the initial passcode set up by users. This meant that anyone with both the stolen device and its passcode could gain complete control over the phone.

For those using the latest developer beta of iOS 17.3, Stolen Device Protection can be activated under Face ID and Passcode settings. The opt-in feature will soon be available to all iPhone users when iOS 17.3 is officially launched in the coming weeks.

An Apple spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to evolving protections for user devices, stating, “As threats to user devices continue to evolve, we work tirelessly to develop powerful new protections for our users and their data. iPhone data encryption has long led the industry, and a thief can’t access data on a stolen iPhone without knowing the user’s passcode. In the rare cases where a thief can observe the user entering the passcode and then steal the device, Stolen Device Protection adds a sophisticated new layer of protection.”

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Source(s): NBC News via AOL

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