iPhone/smart phone Incident Response

Thursday, May 28, 2009

While visiting the family this weekend my cousins girlfriend lost her iPhone! We were at a party and she left the phone on top of her bag in a closed room (closed not locked). When she decided to make a call she went to the room and did not find the phone. We turned the house and car inside out but the phone was nowhere to be found. As a normal iPhone/smart phone user her first human instinct was denial. Watching from another view however, I knew the phone had been stolen especially since calling it went straight to the answering machine even though it had full battery and AT&T had full coverage in the area. So what do you do now?

Rule 1: Don't Panic
This is probably the hardest thing NOT to do when you loose your beloved iPhone/smart phone. When you panic you can't think straight and the next few steps require that.

Rule 2: Acceptance
If you turn a house and/or car upside down, call the phone and it is off, or after 15 minutes of searching you don't find it then your phone was probably stolen. Accept this. This step might be before rule 1 but panic won't allow acceptance so I put this as rule 2.

Rule 3: Report the phone stolen
Call AT&T by dialing 611 on another AT&T phone and report your phone has been stolen/lost. They will cancel the account immediately disallowing the thief to make calls on your line. I've heard stories of $10,000 bills from a stolen line.

Rule 4: Change all passwords that were stored on your iPhone/smart phone immediately
What applications did you have on your phone? Change all those passwords! Facebook, email accounts, bank accounts, Apple account, etc, etc, etc. It is good to keep a list of what apps you use and the passwords to easily change them, but if you don't, try to remember!

Rule 5: Use a pass code and wipe device after 10 failed attempts
I know putting a pass code on your phone is a pain but you NEED to do it. Also set the number of failed attempts to wipe your device. If you use your phone as a smart phone everything should be synced and you won't loose anything right?

Rule 6: Don't save passwords on your phone
If you have a pass code this can be forgive but best practice is to input passwords every time you use them (not to store). However best practice is to have more than a 14 character password too making it a pain to type those passwords in every time you want to sync your mail. So if you have a pass code this may be excused however if you do NOT have a passcode and have saved all your passwords...

Rule 7: Take care of your device
If you paid whatever you paid for an iPhone/smart phone then take care of it! Keep it on you at all times (yes I am a crackberry addict). If you have your phone on you all the time it will be harder to loose/have it stolen.

In conclusion, these are just a few best practices for your iPhone/smart phone. Some of us store our entire lives on these devices so unless you want someone else to inherit your life, protect it.

Edit: Someone just sent me this article that came out yesterday. Very interesting what hackers can do without your cellphone in their hands, imagine with it. Identity theft anyone?

Till next time,
Jorge Orchilles


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