gestolen-iphoneOver the weekend, burglars in Belgian used a ladder to climb onto the roof of a warehouse in Willebroek, Belgium, cut a hole in the roof, and stole $3 million worth of iPhones. That’s a lot of iPhones.

The crime is believed to be the largest iPhone heist to date. Considered an inside job, the hole in the roof was made directly over where the iPhones were located, suggesting that the thieves had prior knowledge of where the phones were stored. The warehouse was American owned and was holding phones to be transferred to Mobistar, Apple’s exclusive Belgian carrier. “We have the serial numbers of the stolen iPhones block[ed] anyway so they cannot be used,” said Verdoodt (Google translation). But because Belgium is one of only three countries in Europe that sells iPhones without a SIM-lock, that would not prevent the thieves from fencing them for use on another carrier’s network.

There is some disagreement as to how many phones were actually stolen, ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 phones with a street value close to 2 million euros or 3 million USD. Despite the great loss, Patti Verdoodt, a Mobistar spokesperson, stated that the company has been notified and assures that they will receive a new shipment in time for the holiday season.

(Via CNN)

Read More →

kindle1Items like the iPhone and the Kindle make it possible to cram books, music, pictures, and games into one single device with ease. With these devices closely linked to GPS and Internet, consumers would assume that locating these devices would be easy if stolen or lost. High tech gadget companies are telling consumers, think again.

Makers of these high tech devices have taken different approaches when it comes to handling theft and misplacement. Amazon’s Kindle is quickly becoming a favorite for techies but if it’s lost or stolen, well that’s a different story. According to Amazon, the only way the company will deactivate a stolen Kindle is with a phone call AND police report from the cops. This has outraged one  customer in particular who said,  “Amazon knew the device was being used and preferred to sell content to anyone who possessed the device, rather than assist in returning it to its rightful owner.” An Amazon spokesman replied, stating that the company acted in accordance with the law and cooperated with law enforcement officials. “Beyond that, we aren’t going to speculate on hypotheticals.satelliteradio1

Amazon is not the only company with this policy. Sirius XM Radio also needs a subpoena from a police officer before it can discontinue service or release information about one of it’s radios.  Company spokesman Patrick Reilly said the goal of this policy is “to protect the original subscriber who has lost the radio, but also not to incriminate someone who legitimately comes in possession of a radio.” He added “Radios that have been reported stolen are reactivated only after someone provides a “proof of purchase,” like a receipt from eBay.”

iphonepic2iPhone users have a few more options when it comes to lost phones. Using GPS technology, iPhone users can attempt to track and locate a misplaced phone, or they can remotely wipe the phone clean of any sensitive information. Mark Siegal, a spokesman for AT&T, stated “When we address lost or stolen iPhones, all we’re focused on is preventing any charges from accruing to that account. We don’t disable the phone.”

With no policy changes in the works, consumers can look forward to years of frustration from high tech companies. Until then, I recommend being careful with your high tech toys.

(Via NewYorkTimes)



Read More →

apple-storeThe Apple store is one of the most interactive and display-centric stores out there. They have all their top of the line gear on display including iPhones, Macbooks, desktops, and iPods for people to touch and test. Maybe that’s why thieves targeted the Apple store in Marlton, New Jersey.

In a well organized heist, thieves cleaned out the store in an amazing 31 seconds, snagging 23 Macbook Pros, 14 iPhones, and 9 iPod touches. Thieves brandished guns to scare security guards and were in and out before police could even arrive on the scene. Unfortunately, the thieves covered their faces, rendering security footage useless.


(Via Mashable)

Read More →

iphone_gps_using_cell_tower_triangulationA man was robbed at Shady Side on Saturday. He was approached by three men, who demanded that the victim turn over his phone his wallet and his pin number. The man complied and later contacted police while looking up the location of his iPhone through its GPS system.

Through the use of GPS technology the police were able to determine the last few stops of the criminals as well as determine their exact location. The police were then able to arrest the three suspects at a local gas station. The suspects were identified as: Bryant Rather, Brent Ray Potter, Myron Knox Jr.,  all age 22. The men are currently being held in police custody after being found in a gray SUV with all of the victims items.

Read More →

lohan-cryingFamed actress Lindsay Lohan went ballistic in a New York deli after leaving her phone there by mistake. Lohan had walked into Mott Corner Deli and after buying a few things, she walked out of the store without realizing that she had left her precious phone behind. Once Lohan realized what she had done, she immediately walked back into the store demanding her cell phone be returned.

One of the deli workers insisted that they review the security tapes in order to verify that she had left the phone. Lohan was infuriated by the fact that the deli owner would not simply return the phone to her. It had gotten to the point that she had to involve the NYPD. According to police records the call was made at around 7:30 pm, but by the time the police had arrived at the scene the issue had already been resolved.

Read More →

identEvery day thousands of people download new applications onto their smart phones without much care for  the terms of service they so easily agree to. What most of these people don’t know is they may be volunteering information and allowing for companies to gather data without their consent. Recently a company called Pinch Media was charged with being a little too invasive when it comes to gathering information through their iPhone apps.

According to one iPhone developer, applications using Pinch Media can retrieve information like your phone’s personal ID number and can work in conjunction with other applications like Facebook to determine your gender, birth year and even your exact longitude and latitude. Pinch Media has been accused of gathering information that has nothing to do with its applications. Instead, they have been using this data collection for advertisements and other marketing purposes. Worse, is that this information is often taken without the consent of the user and more often than not does not allow the user the option to stop the information gathering.

Read More →

screenshot-04Imagine that you are vacationing and get a phone call from your neighbor telling you that your alarm just went off, but there is nothing you can do about it. You don’t know what set it off and if it is just a fluke. You find yourself now wide awake, asking yourself why you got the alarm to begin with.

For iPhone users, the solution to this kind of situation lies in an application provided by CAVU Mobile Surveillance Solution. This app allows you to view live footage taken from any security camera on your iPhone, transforming it into a portable advanced home security system. With the CAVU Mobile Surveillance Solution, the next time a neighbor calls to tell you that your alarm has gone off again, you can automatically see what is going on inside your house on our phone- no matter where you are.

This application also lets you save footage on your phone, which is useful in case you need to show/reference the footage on the go. From your phone you can even control the position of the camera – providing you with multi-camera views.

If you’re thinking to yourself right now about how you wish you had been nicer to your neighbor, because then he/she would be more likely to actually call you to tell you that there is a good chance you’re being robbed- stop. This iPhone app also allows for poor neighbor to neighbor relations. It provides a self sufficient, independent of any neighbor, surveillance system on your phone to tell your that there is suspicious action going on.

For a cool $19.99 you can be your own FBI squad team, the C, the, S and the I in CSI Crime Scene Investigation, and most importantly, sure that your home is safe.

Read More →

momo_catgirl_3Money can’t buy you love- unless you have an iPhone.

A new application has surfaced that provides you with a virtual catgirl girlfriend, named Momo.  Yes, that is right, this portable girlfriend is there for you any time of the day, waiting to love you right in your pocket.  Using new technology, creators designed Momo to express emotions depending on the time of day.  Another, feature utilizes the iPhone’s built in GPS tracking device to let Momo know when you are out and when you are home.  Just like any girlfriend- you’ll get a moodier, and suspicious Momo when you are out late into the night, and a happier, bubblier side if you spend the night in…with your phone.

Read More →

iphoneIt will come as soon as it leaves and the damage will be irreparable.  In a matter of seconds, your iPhone can be taken over, leaving you absolutely powerless.

Two researchers, Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner, have found a flaw in the iPhone’s SMS text messaging system that allows hackers to send a text message that gives them complete power over the phone.  The message, a small, symmetrical square is the perfect indicator to an iPhone user that their phone has been hijacked in such a beautifully simple manner.  Once the hijacker has control he/she can dial the phone, visit web sites, turn on the device’s camera and microphone and, most importantly, send more text messages to further propagate a mass-gadget hijacking.

There is no definitive way to protect yourself against these viral text messages as of yet, but the researchers hope that in identifying the flaw and notifying Apple, there will be patches and changes to the system to prevent malicious attackers from executing what could be a fatal virus.  Unfortunately, the researchers plan has not gone as planned.  They reported this hole in the system over a month ago to Apple, but no patch has been made to correct it.  The researchers contend that possibly turning off your phone as soon as possible after recieving a text message might be a short term solution that could deter the hacker.

Using SMS text messaging to deliver viruses to smart phones should be a priority in cybersecurity. These attacks are only the tip of a very large, Titanic-esque iceberg.

We are in a new Cold War- hackers vs. cybersecurity- trying to explore the final frontier: SMS hacking.  The chase is no longer a game; it’s necessary to prevent millions of users from becoming victims.

Read More →