$300,000 worth of iPhones

A homeless-man-turned-tech-mastermind serving a 94-month sentence for a year long spree stealing smartphones has spilled his secrets of the criminal trade to the Wall Street Journal. Before getting busted in Minnesota last year as part of a larger ring of thieves, Aaron Johnson, 26, made off with an estimated $300,000 by pilfering iPhones and manipulating their financial apps. Johnson’s sinister approach seemed beyond innocent to his victims who often handed over their phones to him willingly. He would linger in bars and clubs by targeting inebriated and off-guard winos. College men, in particular, were an easy mark as “they’re already drunk and don’t know what’s going on for real,” Johnson explained. Women were more aware of their surroundings and on the lookout for shady figures, he noted. Johnson would often offer his victims drugs or claim to be a rapper who wanted them to add him on platforms like Snapchat. “I say, ‘Hey, your phone is locked. What’s the passcode?’ They say, ‘2-3-4-5-6,’ or something. And then I just remember it,” recalled Johnson, who would record people inputting their codes when possible. Once in, he would hustle to the settings app to change passwords to the phone and Apple ID “faster than you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” He also deactivated tracking features such as Find My iPhone and added his own biometrics to Face ID.

The latter was “the key to everything” — as it allowed access to passwords within iCloud Keychain. For reasons such as this, Apple is rolling out Stolen Device Protection in iOS 17.3. The feature intentionally causes an hourlong delay before implementing changes in passwords and Face or Touch IDs when a phone or other product is operating in an unfamiliar location. Johnson said he was able to turn over a device in mere minutes if not seconds. After swiftly sidestepping a device’s security protocols, he would head straight for banking and cryptocurrency apps while also searching notes and photos for sensitive information like Social Security numbers. By the next day, when his victims were likely sobering up, Johnson had already transferred money via apps like Apple Pay, so he could go on a shopping spree — sometimes at the Apple store for more high-end devices, like $1,200 iPad Pro models that he would resell for cash. Johnson would unload 30 iPhones and iPads on a good weekend — to the tune of $20,000. If thieves figure out the passcode of your iPhone, they could use Apple Pay to purchase things. Moreover, any app without extra protection, like email or Venmo, could be vulnerable. Johnson’s operation underscores the need for device security, as both the phone and the apps contain vital personal and financial data.

iPhone funnies

What’s the difference between an iPhone 15 and one ounce of gold?
An ounce of gold will still be worth two grand next year.

My kid damaged my iPhone 15, so I am giving it away.
He is 13 years old, blue eyes, blue hair…

iPhone X has face recognition…
So girls aren’t gonna be able to unlock their phones when they take their makeup off.

My girlfriend made me choose between the iPhone or her…
(Sent from my iPhone)

January 5th Birthdays

1978 – January Jones, 1968 – Carrie Ann Inaba, 1946 – Daine Keaton, 1992 – Suky Waterhouse

1855- King Camp Gillette, 1914 – George Reeves, 1952 – Sammo Hung, 1975 – Bradely Cooper