How apple is blocking & tracking stolen iPhones from stores during protest

Protests after the George Floyd case have led to multiple demonstrations, which some people have taken advantage of to commit looting in small businesses and department stores, with Apple stores being one of the most frequent targets, as mentioned by information security awareness experts.

After a week of protest, the company has detected looting in four different Apple Stores, leading to the theft of thousands of dollars in merchandise (and hundreds of lost iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches). However, looters found a surprise when trying to access these devices: a message from Apple notifying them that these devices were blocked because they were removed from one of their stores.

According to information security awareness experts, when the company detects that one of its devices is illegally removed from an Apple Store, a number of proximity sensors perform an instant lock, so thieves can’t use the stolen goods. A Twitter user (@onlyfanobtainer) shared an image of the message that appears on the stolen devices, in which Apple requires the merchandise to be returned to the store.

“Please return to the relevant store. This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted,” Apple warns.

While the company is unlikely to recover stolen devices, stealing Apple devices directly from stores becomes very unattractive to criminals, as it is highly complicated to reset a locked device in this way.

For further reports on vulnerabilities, exploits, malware variants, and computer security risks, information security awareness experts recommend entering the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) website, as well as official technology company platforms.