Stolen Apple Watch devices could be as good as new for would-be thieves
Proud owners of the Apple Watch have been warned they could be a prime target for thieves as the device lacks any kill switch that renders the device useless if stolen.
Although the Apple Watch includes security measures, such as a passcode, that prevents thieves from accessing personal data, it is possible to bypass this code, reset the device and pair it with a new iPhone using a different iCloud account.
It is claimed the absence of such a deterrent could encourage criminals, who will be able to sell “as-new” Apple Watch units for a higher profit.
Apple Watch kill-switch
“I was able to get my Apple Watch paired and working on a new device without any stumbling blocks,” said Jeff Benjamin, of iDownloadBlog. “There was no request to verify the Apple ID that I was using previously, and absolutely nothing present in Watch OS 1.0 to prevent a thief from stealing my watch, resetting it, and pairing it with their own device.”
The iPhone itself previously lacked such a deterrent prior to the introduction of the Activation Lock in iOS 7. This prevents a device from being activated after being reset without the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature being disabled first – a move that would require the thief to have the Apple ID credentials of the person they stole it from.
Since the implementation of Activation Lock, phone thefts in London, New York and San Francisco have all fallen.
Although the lack of independent Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity means a similar measure is impossible to implement on the Apple Watch, it has been suggested at the very least Apple could force users to enter Apple ID credentials when re-pairing the device. The fear is that word could spread among thieves about the vulnerability of the Apple Watch.
Apple had not responded to TechWeekEurope’s requests for comment at the time of publication.
The launch of the company’s first wearable has not been without problems, most notably the revelation that some of its features do not work properly if the user’s wrists are tattooed.
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