You’ve got your computer password protected, or at least I hope you do, so why don’t you do the same to your mobile phone? It never ceases to amaze me how few people I know actually use the security features on their mobile devices. You arguably spend more time poking and prodding at that piece of plastic and metal in your pocket than you do in front of a larger screen, so if anything locking out potential strangers should be an even higher priority. The iPhone, and any other device running iOS 4.1, now has a problem since one curious individual found a way to get around the need to enter a passphrase. It’s remarkably simple. Wake up an iPhone, hit emergency call, dial any old number, and then almost immediately after you hit call put the iPhone back into sleep. Something screwy happens, and now you’ve got access to the call log. You can also hit “share contact” and be able to see what photos are on said device.
Now granted, you don’t get access to text messages, emails, and whatever website a user is automatically logged in on, but you do get to see who someone has been contacting and what he’s been taking picture of, so that’s kind of scary. Widely read Apple blogger John Gruber is saying that with the latest iOS 4.2 beta 3 he can not replicate the bug, so Apple knows about this, but the key question is how long were they aware of the issue, and why are they only now going to fix it?
Chances are that if someone steals your phone they’re not going to be the type of person who reads gadget blogs, so your private data is pretty safe. That being said, all of you, iPhone or not, should seriously put some sort of protection on your device.