GMA News Online

Report: Cloud helps track iPhone 'thief'

May 25, 2012 10:57am
Cloud technology again played the role of crimefighter after it helped track the stolen iPhone of a passenger of a Disney cruise ship last April.

Photos taken using the stolen iPhone were synced to Apple Inc.'s iCloud, allowing owner Katy McCaffrey to re-post the photos on her Facebook account.

Security firm Sophos said McCaffrey even made an album out of the photos titled "Stolen iPhone Adventures," complete with humorous captions.

It eventually attracted the attention of netizens and the media – and eventually the attention of Disney, which said it has placed the employee under investigation.

"It is unclear whether Nelson was in fact the thief, or if he simply purchased the stolen phone from someone else on board the ship. It isn't looking good for him at the moment though," Sophos said.

A separate article on USA Today said Disney Cruise Line had placed the unnamed employee on "administrative leave" while it investigates the alleged theft of the iPhone.

Images from the album depicted the alleged thief and other members of the Disney crew working and relaxing on the Wonder.

USA Today quoted Rebecca Peddie, manager of public affairs for Disney Cruise Line, as saying the line became aware of the Facebook photos and the alleged theft, and that the iPhone had been recovered.

"Peddie says that while the situation is being investigated, the crew member, who is still on the Wonder, is on administrative leave and has been restricted from guest areas," USA Today said.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior," the spokesperson added. "We are taking aggressive action."

Smartphone safety

But Sophos said the incident also raised concerns about smartphone safety, noting McCaffrey could have reported the phone stolen and canceled its service to prevent the thief from racking up a large phone bill.

"McCaffrey clearly was using Apple's iCloud service, so why did she not take advantage of the remote lock/remote wipe service that is part of iCloud?" it added.

"Playing amateur detective rarely works out the way it appears to have this time and even without the photos the 'Find my iPhone' app would likely have allowed law enforcement to locate the thief," it said.

Sophos also noted McCaffrey did not bother to secure her phone with a password.

It said a survey conducted last summer showed 70 percent of smartphone users admitted to not using a passcode. — LBG, GMA News
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