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Tags: Apple Watch | thieves | reprogram | cellphone | iPhone

Tech-Savvy Thieves Can Easily Reset Apple Watches as Their Own

Tech-Savvy Thieves Can Easily Reset Apple Watches as Their Own
(Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 02:15 PM

If you own a shiny, expensive new Apple Watch, you might want to consider swapping your watchband for a set of handcuffs to lock it to your wrist.

That's because, unlike its cousin the iPhone, the Apple Watch is extremely attractive to thieves because the Apple Watch has no built in Activation Lock "kill switch," meaning that a tech-savvy thief easily can bypass owner security codes, erase the data and pair a stolen Apple Watch with another cellphone, in under a minute, Business Insider reports.

That means that your stolen watch could be on someone else's wrist, working for the thief instead of you, exactly as if the thief had just purchased it new at an Apple store.

Locate your stolen Apple Watch by GPS? Forget it — the watch relies on the GPS in your smartphone for its location and can't send out a signal on its own, Business Insider reports.

Idownloadblog even posted a video showing just how easy it is for a thief to make a pilfered Apple Watch his own.

Story continues below video.

 

Thefts of iPhones dropped dramatically after 2013, when Apple added the "kill switch" feature, meaning that a stolen iPhone was useless to thieves who could not bypass the owner's code, Reuters reports.

Virtually overnight, thefts of iPhones dropped 40 percent in San Francisco, 25 percent in New York, and more than half in London, Reuters notes, because without the ability to erase and reprogram the iPhones, they were worthless to thieves.

There's no such problem with the Apple Watch, and the pricey gadgets, costing anywhere from $349 to an amazing $17,000 for the top-of-the-line gold edition model, makes it a tempting target for the light-fingered, TechRadar reports.

"In less than a minute, without needing to enter a password, anyone can reset the Apple Watch to factory settings and pair it with a different iPhone, ready to use," Business Insider reports.

Thieves need only long-press the Apple Watch's power button, bring up shutdown settings, hold down the "power off" button and press on the option, "erase all content and settlings." When the phone is hooked to a power source, it will check again press the right button and you have a brand new Apple Watch in your hands, instantly ready to be paired with your iPhone, Business Insider explained.

Thieves still will not be able to access your data from the phone, which is protected, but they will have a new Apple Watch of their very own.

"In other words," Idownloadblog comments, "it’s totally feasible to steal an Apple Watch and set it up on a different device as if you just purchased it from an Apple Store.

"The fact that the Apple Watch lacks Activation Lock is an encouragement to thieves. It means that they stand to make a higher profit, as the device that they’re stealing is totally usable for whoever decides to buy the stolen property."

As to when Apple will notice and come up with a solution to the problem, the blog comments, "It's only a matter of time."

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US
If you own a shiny, expensive new Apple Watch, you might want to consider swapping your watchband for a set of handcuffs to lock it to your wrist.
Apple Watch, thieves, reprogram, cellphone, iPhone
511
2015-15-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 02:15 PM
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