Why is Mobile Theft on the Increase?
This summer there has been a rise in phone theft, especially by criminals on mopeds.
An individual is happily walking down the street taping on their phone, then whoosh, their phone is gone, taken by a passenger thief on a moped.
Let’s consider an iPhone. It has an inbuilt activation lock and a cloud-based mechanism to brick the device rendering it useless. Apple introduced these features in 2013 and resulted in the rate of iPhone thefts dropping dramatically.
Why are thefts on the rise again in 2017?
It comes down to a number to the factors, the main one is that it’s now possible to reactivate bricked (meaning the phone will not start-up and cannot be fixed through normal means) and activation locked iPhones. Hence, the market rate for bricked phones is rising. This linked to the higher prices of phones (£1000+ for the iPhone X) most probably means that criminals get a decent return for their work.
This also coupled with Police not prioritising phone thefts, is a green light for criminals.
How do you reactivate a locked or bricked phone?
If you search the Internet for ‘iPhone activation lock bypass’, you’ll find numerous guides and websites offering to unlock services. My guess is that there is also a range of professional services run by technology experts linked to criminal organisations who specialise in this.
Additionally, there are also numerous guides for bypassing Android device encryption. And there is a perception that the Android OS is less secure than Apple iOS so the theft threat for Android phones is essentially the same.
Where does this leave you with your expensive phone?
There is no longer comfort of knowing your device is safe from theft based on the inbuilt security. Therefore, protect yourself when using a mobile phone in public. See the London Metropolitan Police guide – Protect your mobile phone against criminals on bikes and mopeds.
Backup your data to the cloud and activate all the security mechanism, even though they could be bypassed.
Hopefully, Apple and Google will improve their device security. They will, but my guess is that criminals will eventually catch up. So, there will be a need for constant improvement.