U.S. court rules that phone passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment, but fingerprints aren’t

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While Touch ID makes sense for most of us as a secure and convenient way to protect our phones, there is one group of people who may want to stick to good old-fashioned passcodes: criminals.

A Virginia District Court has ruled that while phone passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment, which says that those accused of crimes cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves, there is no such protection against using a suspect’s fingerprint to unlock a phone …  Read more

The ridiculously simple con that allowed a fraudster to take Apple for $309k

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You wouldn’t think it would be easy to use a debit card on a closed account to scam an Apple Store out of around $7200′s worth of kit, but that’s what a 24-year-old fraudster is alleged to have done not just once but a total of 42 times – netting a total haul worth $309,768.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the East Tampa resident Sharron Parrish used an absurdly simple method to persuade Apple Store staff to override payment terminals after his transactions were declined …  Read more

Police: iOS 7′s Activation Lock has helped reduce iPhone theft in some cities

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When Apple introduced the new Activation Lock anti-theft system with iOS 7 to help prevent the re-use of stolen iOS devices, some lawmakers saw it as the perfect way to help quell smartphone theft. In fact, many sought to make features like it standard on all mobile devices. Today, the New York Times has released some new numbers that shows a decrease in iPhone theft following the implementation of Activation Lock.

According to New York police, thefts involving Apple products have dropped by 19% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. London and San Francisco authorities have seen even more impressive drops, with 24% and 38% reductions in iOS device thefts, respectively, in the six months following the feature’s release when compared to the six months immediately preceding it.

Read more

Smash and grab thieves do some holiday looting in Apple Store, Berlin

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Bild.de reports that thieves crashed an Opel Corsa into the Apple Store in Berlin in the early hours, stealing display model iPhones, iPads and Macs. Six thieves were said to have carried out the smash and grab at 4.15am before escaping in two Audis.

There have been seven such burglaries in Berlin recently, including one at the electronics chain Media Markt, where the thieves made off with goods worth €100,000 ($137,000).

More photos below …  Read more

Virginia town encouraging citizen crime reporting with free iOS app

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The Marion Police Department in Virginia have decided to encourage residents to report crime by releasing a new app called “iWatch Marion“. The app is available for free on the App Store and provides citizens with an easy way to report potential crimes by uploading tips, photos, and video. Content uploaded by users is forwarded directly to the police department closest to the location the tip was sent from:

Because iWatch Marion uses global positioning technology, the system intelligently forwards information to the Howard County Police Department based on where the handheld device is physically located at any given moment.

The app will also allow users to receive alerts for missing children, crime, weather, and more. I’m not sure if major cities will jump on the idea of encouraging citizens to get involved in crimes in progress, but it’s something that more and more smaller towns are starting to take advantage of. Read more