The lovable nerds over at Gizmodo are reporting on a ginormous flaw in the iPhone’s “security.” As it turns out, setting a four-digit passcode for your phone is about as secure as that Post-It Note on your monitor that has your network password written on it. With a few not-entirely-unintuitive-anyway taps, anyone who picks up your locked phone can browse your contacts and make calls, surf the web, see your bookmarks, and have full access to your email and SMS messages.
1. Affix a label to your MacBook, marking it as your property. Hard plastic or metal labels are more difficult for thieves to remove without damaging the laptop’s case, which makes reselling your ’book much harder. Stoptheft.com sells serialized metal labels, called STOP plates, for $25.50 that require thieves to go to great lengths to remove—and if they succeed, they’ll discover that the indelible phrase “stolen property” and STOP’s toll-free number are stamped beneath it.
If the worst happens—someone succeeds in swiping your MacBook—you’ll wish you’d checked out one of these solutions sooner.
If your MacBook is stolen and you’ve had GadgetTrak Verey ($39.95, gadgettrak.com) installed, anyone attempting to connect to a new network on your ’book is prompted to enter a password within a specified time frame. If the user fails, Verey assumes the computer is stolen, and goes into panic mode. The MacBook’s iSight camera then begins to record video, and after a few minutes, the screen turns gray and displays a message suggesting that the user contact the owner of the computer, showing contact info and any other details you have entered in System Preferences.
Need to catch your little sister borrowing your Members Only jacket? Do you suspect your cat of having cocktail parties while you’re at work? If you’ve got an iSight or other Mac-compatible webcam, Periscope can be your eyes and ears while you’re away from your Mac, capturing images like a security camera would and providing multiple options for sending the pictures to yourself. Just be wary of the manual, which is deceptive.
The Ncase Portable Safe is an aluminum briefcase that, when closed and locked, functions as a portable antitheft vault for your laptop, as long as the case is closed. Inside the case is a compartment with movable dividers and a Velcro strap. The included 3/8-inch-thick steel security cable also fits inside.
The Pacsafe MeshSafe B200 antitheft backpack is designed to hold a 15-inch laptop computer and other gear. A major advantage to any backpack—even one without added theft-prevention features— is that it doesn’t look like a laptop bag. Our 15-inch MacBook Pro fit fine inside the B200’s removable laptop sleeve, but not quite as snugly as we would have liked. Ditto for a 12-inch iBook.
We briefly mentioned this on Monday, but there's more info about the Mac OS X Trojan horses recently sighted. One of them, seen in the wild, is disguised as a Mac program called PokerGame.app. If you type in your administrator password at the prompt, the hacker will be able to remotely access your Mac through a SSH tunnel. But another Trojan, so far just a proof of concept, actually gives the hacker root access, via an ARDAgent vulnerability in the operating system. This has naturally led to more concern about the rising threat of Mac OS X malware, and we're sure to hear more about it as the Mac platform becomes more and more popular. Prominent hacker Dino Dai Zovi offers some suggestions for Apple to put better malware protection into Snow Leopard. Until then (and even after then, of course), it's up to everyone to stay vigilant.