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Comments on news posted 2013-11-29 12:41:48: Back in April, wireless carriers and the government announced that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). ..


NickD
Premium
join:2000-11-17
Princeton Junction, NJ
Reviews:
·Comcast

Kill switch

How would disabling a phone render it useless if you don't have the IMEI?

Only the account holder should be able to disable a phone. And if a phone is disabled, it should be able to be reactivated if the original owner brings the phone to a store.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: Kill switch

Seems like a little bit too much power to entrust into an error prone government agency who doesn't understand "consequences" for their actions.
dra6o0n

join:2011-08-15
Mississauga, ON
Reviews:
·ITalkBB
Yes, because a phone is 'disabled' but it's not offline. It just cannot connect but still has functionality which means people can still flash it and such. But for theft it would greatly kill the stolen phone market due to them not 'flashing' and doing complex hacking to make the phone workable anymore.

Basically by 'carriers' would probably be the actual companies that 'buys' stolen phones and refurbishes them.

delusion ftl

@comcast.net
This would be ripe for abuse with scammers. People who sell a phone used to anyone, then wait a day and report it stolen(then collect insurance replacement). Phone would be permanently broken for honest buyer and dishonest seller would have cash in hand and no downside.
TheGhost
Premium
join:2003-01-03
Lake Forest, IL

Re: Kill switch

This would just really help kill the market for used phones then. I think the "scam" would only work once, at best. Less if the person who purchased the used phone then reported the seller to the police.

JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

Does Apple's recently introduced Activation Lock support the carrier's justification?

Carriers are justifying their opposition to a kill switch by claiming they're concerned that hackers could abuse the function to disable devices used by consumers or law enforcement.

Does Apple's solution (which doesn't need carrier approval?) work?
Will we ever get meaningful stats on it?

kfsutops
Premium
join:2002-08-19
Tampa, FL

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

It doesn't really work at all. I set up all the pretty little security features on my iPad that IOS 7 brought. iPad was stolen. I tracked it from Phoenix to Atlanta to North Carolina. Contacted all the local police. Was told need to work through Phoenix police. Called them made a police report. Received a call back three weeks later..Duhhh..

But in the end, all that needs to be accomplished by the thief is to restore the device. The security features Apple introduced really means nothing to somebody with a little brains.
--
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots"

JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

Being able to bypass Activation Lock by restoring the device goes contrary to what Apple says.
If it's that simple it's totally useless.

kfsutops
Premium
join:2002-08-19
Tampa, FL

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

said by JimThePCGuy:

If it's that simple it's totally useless.

Bingo. Not to be snarky, but it really is useless. It's designed to keep those less informed from breaking into the iPad. But anybody with any knowledge of Apple products would know that all that is needed is to restore the product. Very simple. Takes five minutes.
--
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots"
en103

join:2011-05-02

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

Sounds like Apple's 'Activation Lock' is more to prevent people from accessing content that's CURRENTLY on the iPhone/iPad than preventing the device from being reused by reimaging.

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:1

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

said by en103:

Sounds like Apple's 'Activation Lock' is more to prevent people from accessing content that's CURRENTLY on the iPhone/iPad than preventing the device from being reused by reimaging.

That is absolutely correct. It isn't about protecting the device, it is about protecting the data on it. You can accomplish the same thing on an Android device. But it too won't stop someone from reusing the device after being wiped.

JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

Well what you are saying flies in the face of what Apple has in their knowledgebase.
Basically Apple says with the Activation Lock in place the internal ID of the phone is tied to the Apple Activation Database and Apple will not activate the phone without supplying the Apple ID and Password in their database. Restoring the phone does not change the phone's internal ID not does it break the connection between the Apple database and the phone ID.
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

said by JimThePCGuy:

Well what you are saying flies in the face of what Apple has in their knowledgebase.
Basically Apple says with the Activation Lock in place the internal ID of the phone is tied to the Apple Activation Database and Apple will not activate the phone without supplying the Apple ID and Password in their database. Restoring the phone does not change the phone's internal ID not does it break the connection between the Apple database and the phone ID.

100% correct, at least someone can read

kfsutops
Premium
join:2002-08-19
Tampa, FL

1 recommendation

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

Believe as will... But I can promise taking a phone with the locks in place and doing a restore will wipe the phone and get around the activation locks in IOS 7. I have done it twice.

My wife was asleep one night while I was switching phones around. Her phone has a separate apple id and back up on a different computer. I wanted to switch phones out because I planned on selling her phone. Tried to do it first through the phone but kept getting the box requesting her password. Rather than wake her, I took the phone to a different computer. Plugged it in, hit restore, and off to the races. The phone restored. I was able to activate the phone with my information and at no point did it ever ask for her information.

Try it. Rather than IM me with condescending remarks anonymously, try it yourself. Or bring your phone over to my house and I will show you how easily it is done.
--
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots"

Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

Did you actually have the phone setup to use the activation lock? It does need to be setup to use Find My iPhone - if your wife had disabled that it wouldn't be on. But for the record there are plenty of people on the internet who can confirm that Activation Lock does work (check out any message board about "forgot iPhone password") and you'll see that. I'm going to say this was probably something you were doing wrong.
raythompsontn

join:2001-01-11
Oliver Springs, TN
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by kfsutops:

But I can promise taking a phone with the locks in place and doing a restore will wipe the phone and get around the activation locks in IOS 7

Bzzzztttt, wrong. You cannot restore a device with Find My Phone activated. You need the correct ID to restore the phone.
said by kfsutops:

I have done it twice.

I have done it twice myself, restoring the phone that is. In both case it was necessary to turn off Find My Phone, which required accessing the device. That required getting past the passcode, then going into the settings screen and turning off Find My Phone, which required the proper email address and password.
said by kfsutops:

Rather than IM me with condescending remarks anonymously, try it yourself.

I have. My experience is certainly different than yours,

I suspect you are confusing the passcode with activation lock which requires an email address and a password.

SailorPaul

@verizon.net
100% correct. No password, no apple ID, then stolen phone no workeeeee...
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

1 recommendation

said by Camelot One:

said by en103:

Sounds like Apple's 'Activation Lock' is more to prevent people from accessing content that's CURRENTLY on the iPhone/iPad than preventing the device from being reused by reimaging.

That is absolutely correct. It isn't about protecting the device, it is about protecting the data on it. You can accomplish the same thing on an Android device. But it too won't stop someone from reusing the device after being wiped.

Absolutely 100% incorrect, wiping, restoring, etc does not remove activation lock and it wont activate without the person's apple id and password

Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
WRONG! »support.apple.com/kb/HT5818?view···le=en_US
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY
Reviews:
·TowerStream
·Time Warner Cable
If you have the iOS7 locked you cannot just "flash over it" The iOS bootrom still sees that the device it locked. If you know how to get around that please tell me I have a box of iphone 5 that employees did the iOS7 lock on them and Apple refuses to unlock them even though the clealry agree the device belongs to my employer.

bluepoint

join:2001-03-24

3 edits

1 recommendation

said by kfsutops:

Not to be snarky, but it really is useless

No, not really. Apple products with IOS7 when stolen can not be used by anyone easily even if they "erase all content and settings" or restore to factory default. Once an IPhone or iPad is registered, it will be tied up to the appleid/password of the owner. The first thing it will look for when erased is the appleid and password of the owner who registered it first. So now, if you are going to sell an apple product, you need to give them the appleid/password or makeup something else for your privacy.
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

said by bluepoint:

said by kfsutops:

Not to be snarky, but it really is useless

No, not really. Apple products with IOS7 when stolen can not be used by anyone easily even if they "erase all content and settings" or restore to factory default. Once an IPhone or iPad is registered, it will be tied up to the appleid/password of the owner. The first thing it will look for when erased is the appleid and password of the owner who registered it first. So now, if you are going to sell an apple product, you need to give them the appleid/password or makeup something else for your privacy.

No, if you are going to sell it, you turn off find my iphone (enter password when prompted) and log into icloud to disconnect it from your apple id, then ya sell it, its no longer tied to your apple id
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

1 recommendation

said by kfsutops:

said by JimThePCGuy:

If it's that simple it's totally useless.

Bingo. Not to be snarky, but it really is useless. It's designed to keep those less informed from breaking into the iPad. But anybody with any knowledge of Apple products would know that all that is needed is to restore the product. Very simple. Takes five minutes.

Activation lock PERSISTS THRU A RESTORE OR DOWNGRADE. Did you even do ANY research? When activation lock is on (by turning on find my iphone on ios7) after a restore, a downgrade (on devices that can be downgraded) or erase all content and settings, it will NOT activate. 2 step in and it wants your apple id and password to activate. No ifs ands or buts. It survives a restore because its linked to icloud. You arent bypassing icloud.
raythompsontn

join:2001-01-11
Oliver Springs, TN
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

said by tdumaine:

a downgrade (on devices that can be downgraded) or erase all content and settings

Downgrading is not supported by Apple and will not work by any legal method. You cannot roll back to a prior version of IOS by any legal means. Doing so will void all warranties on the device and will make the device ineligible for any support by Apple.
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

Re: And how does a kill switch differ from Apple's Activation Lock?

said by raythompsontn:

said by tdumaine:

a downgrade (on devices that can be downgraded) or erase all content and settings

Downgrading is not supported by Apple and will not work by any legal method. You cannot roll back to a prior version of IOS by any legal means. Doing so will void all warranties on the device and will make the device ineligible for any support by Apple.

Actually, its perfectly legal, just unsupported. If done and not jailbroken also, apple wouldnt have any way to tell at all.

iPhone 4 and below have whats called an shsh signature for each ios version. that can be cached and replayed. Doesnt hack apple or anything.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by kfsutops:

But in the end, all that needs to be accomplished by the thief is to restore the device. The security features Apple introduced really means nothing to somebody with a little brains.

This is absolutely incorrect.

First off, iTunes won't let anyone do a normal restore on an iOS device that has the "Find My xxxx" enabled (i.e. the activation lock).

A user can do a DFU mode restore which will wipe the phone and do a restore to it, but when the restore is complete, the device is unusable until Apple activates it. Apple won't activate it without the person entering the Apple ID password. Without it, the person has a really expensive brick.

Activation lock doesn't help you get your device back, it just makes it so the person who took the device can't use it.
--
Get the DSLR Firefox Extension.
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
dra6o0n

join:2011-08-15
Mississauga, ON
Reviews:
·ITalkBB
The only way to fix the whole theft situation is creating phones that, if factory reset, would have to communicate to it's manufacturer's server to 'activate' which thus tells them your current location, the time and date of your activation, and would alert the original owner that their phone was 'fixed' to work again.

Basically the cost is in the database, but a database isn't exactly expensive to build, it's costly to maintain as you need actual human beings eyeing though every record.

I would prefer Google to maintain this sort of thing over a error prone government though, especially for Google Phones as it'll act as a additional security relationship between the owner and google.

Still... Selling phones should be possible but should require some sort of communication tool to tell Google you sold it to someone, not that it's 'stolen'.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

sounds like

but what about the children?? BS response to avoid doing anything that would produce a real result. However, nothing would stop the NSA from using said kill switch to disable phones if they believe (or are told by higher ups) that such a person has become a threat. Imagine activists suddenly being unable to use their phones because the NSA has ruled them 'terrorists' and shut them down. Like any tool, abuse is always an option. I think though that the benefit of preventing a black market outweighs the negative of government abuse, as it would be very obvious to the people who had their phones shut down who had did it.

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC

Re: sounds like

You have to think what would the NSA do with this feature. Everything tech has to thought about with how are the secret police going to abuse this or whoever actually runs the secret police.

Why was the "cold war" fought again????

workablob

join:2004-06-09
Houston, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: sounds like

said by Corehhi:

Everything tech has to thought about with how

^THIS^
--
Don't try to follow me, I have a cab waiting. EEEEEEEEradicator!

IowaCowboy
Want to go back to Iowa
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

They might already be breaking the law

Most states have laws on the books against aiding and abetting (activating stolen phones), possession of stolen property, and receiving stolen property.

In Massachusetts, if the property is valued over $250 (most smartphones) then it's felony theft.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: They might already be breaking the law

Generally the laws are $500 is a felony. But even with this database it still can't be enforced for those carriers across the pond. They can still sell the phones over there.
biochemistry

join:2003-05-09
92361

No kill switch

I am not comfortable with the idea of a kill switch. I could see such a thing being abused.
--
Unicorns! Show ponies! Where's the beef?!
dra6o0n

join:2011-08-15
Mississauga, ON
Reviews:
·ITalkBB

Re: No kill switch

It's not like people would magically figure out what serial number your phone uses and hacks to disable it.
Only the government and corporations would have those level of power, and if they do so, you can easily know it's them who did it, not some random nobody.
biochemistry

join:2003-05-09
92361

Re: No kill switch

And what kool-aid were you drinking when you started to believe the government could be trusted?
--
Unicorns! Show ponies! Where's the beef?!
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

If Google and Apple really wanted to...

They could simply maintain their own database of stolen devices and deny Google Play / iTunes access/activation to those devices with the user getting notified about the device being reported stolen when attempting to register it.

Why they don't? Because neither Google, Apple, the phone carriers or manufacturers benefit from reducing the number of usable devices on the market accessing their services.
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

Re: If Google and Apple really wanted to...

said by InvalidError:

They could simply maintain their own database of stolen devices and deny Google Play / iTunes access/activation to those devices with the user getting notified about the device being reported stolen when attempting to register it.

Why they don't? Because neither Google, Apple, the phone carriers or manufacturers benefit from reducing the number of usable devices on the market accessing their services.

Apple already does this
tdumaine
Premium
join:2004-03-14
Seattle, WA

1 recommendation

Activation lock FUD so far

So much misinformation about apple's activation lock above.

No, you cant bypass it
No, you cant activate after restoring with it on
No you cant erase all content and settings with it on
No you cant downgrade to bypass it
No you cant just call apple to unlink the device from icloud, they want proof of purchase (not a receipt written on notebook paper)
armed

join:2000-10-20

1 recommendation

Re: Activation lock FUD so far

Awwww... you're taking the fun out of wearing a tin hat.
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY
Reviews:
·TowerStream
·Time Warner Cable
said by tdumaine:

No you cant erase all content and settings with it on
No you cant downgrade to bypass it
No you cant just call apple to unlink the device from icloud, they want proof of purchase (not a receipt written on notebook paper)

Even with proof from the Apple store or carrier they still will not unlock it from the iCloud - at least never when I tried.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Would cost the carriers money...

Currently the carriers earn a lot of money selling insurance for stolen/broken phones. Anything that would impact their profits is something they will fight tooth and nail. Besides, they have an insider as the head of the FCC, so a "kill switch" isn't going to happen while a (ex-)telco lobbyist heads the FCC.

The carriers only care about their bottom line, not about customers.

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

So the choices here are:

1. We give all the power to businesses, who only care about as much profit they can squeeze out of anyone and everyone, even if they operate illegally.

2. We give power to an out of control government that wants to remove opposition and spies on the world.

It's like the last (5) election(s)!

dnoyeB
Ferrous Phallus

join:2000-10-09
Southfield, MI

Re: So the choices here are:

I don't see any benefit for the government with #2. Only concern with government is incompetence and indifference.
Expand your moderator at work
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

that photo is perfect....

.... because it demonstrates the complete lack of situational awareness that people have, as they walk around the public space with phone held to ear, and/or eyeball glued to phone, totally oblivious to the on-goings around them. People wouldn't walk around flashing $500 in currency, but they'll walk around flashing that cell phone, while paying no attention whatsoever to their surroundings, then have the nerve to act surprised when they get jacked.

Pay attention to what's going on around you and you're significantly less likely to be a victim. Situational awareness is self-defense 101, and it's rather hard to have it when you're completely fixated on the phone.

tommyanon

@comcast.net

1 recommendation

carriers oppose samsungs method not apples

what this article does not detail is that the carriers oppositions is specific too samsungs solution not apples. the samsung solution is based on a customer paid subscription service that also include an alternative to carrier insurance policies. since the carriers earn quite an income from insurance they do not want to hand that over to the phone manufactures. the carriers do not oppose apples 'activation lock' which is free to the customer and is not sold as a component of an insurance policy.
Chaldo

join:2008-03-18
West Bloomfield, MI

Stupid Idea

You just get more problems then results with this. Most people who steal phones are trying to sell them after, only a hand full of people know where to sell it so these phones go overseas. Now if you add a kill switch whats that going to do? Make them scared to keep stealing? No, they will find a way around it, also it makes it worse for people who want to sell their phones now. Buyers will be scared that the person selling the phone will just report it stolen and kill switch it. It happens a lot now, but there is ways to try to get your money back by selling it on ebay for people who want to use parts, or use it overseas. This is a bunch of shit. So many things the government now a days wants to regulate on, sooner or later it will be freaking illegal to breathe.

•••

richdelb
Go Hawks Go
Premium
join:2003-01-22
Algonquin, IL

Why not charge the Carrier?

Why not pass a law that states that if a Carrier, after making a reasonable effort to confirm a phone is not stolen, (i.e. checking the IMEI against a common shared database that all carriers access) knowingly activates a stolen cell phone they are liable to the tune of $10,000 per phone, per month it's activated.

That would stop the problem dead in it's tracks.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: Why not charge the Carrier?

And what happens if the phone leaves the country??? What ist he database going to do then? You can't force China Mobile to use the database, nor TMO's parent company DT. You're not going to force Orange or Bell Canada or Rogers to use it. I bet nobody has thought about that when the phones are leaving the country.
Chaldo

join:2008-03-18
West Bloomfield, MI

Re: Why not charge the Carrier?

I mean, yeah they leave the country its probably a big business for outsiders in different countries to get phones there that work, but at least its not a drug trade or anything of that sort that the US has to fight. The blacklist thing is enough already... you get this kill switch thing in, I bet you there will be way too much abuse with it... Whats going to happen now?? people want to pull off a big stunt pay insiders to kill switch security cell phones somewhere maybe a bank or who knows.. to pull off a job? This is just giving to much right to the government. As I will always say when government comes in to fix stuff, its mostly always a worse situation. (look who tried to ban guns... glad I live in Michigan they will never listen to that crock of shit).

edit: remember the internet kill switch they tried to give obama? Lol, who the hell does the USA think they are here?