How iCloud Helped To Identify An iPhone Thief

Via iCloud's automatic back-up feature, an iPhone user discovers that her phone's thief works for Disney

Boonsri Dickinson, Associate Editor of BYTE

May 22, 2012

2 Min Read

Do you ever wonder what happens to stolen iPhones? A month after having her iPhone stolen, Katy McCaffrey's photos started appearing in her iCloud account. She then uploaded an album called Stolen iPhone Adventures to Facebook.

"It was stolen on board the Disney Wonder cruiseline back in April," McCaffrey wrote in one comment. "His [the thief's] photos are just making it into my photo stream."

McCaffrey also wrote: "I have alerted the officials of the Disney Cruise Line and forwarded them the photos. Hopefully I'll get my phone back and maybe some free passes to Disneyland."

Free passes to Disneyland? Ha, at least McCaffrey has a sense of humor about this whole ordeal.

McCaffrey introduced the alleged Disney iPhone thief as Nelson, after zooming in on his name tag:

A source close to McCaffrey said that she had iCloud automatic backup set up on her phone, so she was able to get the photos that had been taken with her iPhone.

McCaffrey was lucky she had photo evidence that happened to show up in her photostream. If she had an app that could remotely wipe a phone, it would have been more secure. And, wait a minute, didn't she have that phone password protected?

This serves as a great reminder to IT pros chartered with allowing BYOD, but that protecting corporate assets is important given that iPhones are great targets for thieves. And that it's also smart to use MDM solutions that allow those IT pros to remotely manage any IT assets that might be on smartphones.

I recently did a story on five apps that you should have download on your phone in case it is lost or stolen.

Imagine if the personal device that you bring to work (or a work phone) is stolen. If you have work email or other confidential information on your phone, it could compromise corporate strategy.

Better to be safe than sorry, right?

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About the Author(s)

Boonsri Dickinson

Associate Editor of BYTE

Boonsri Dickinson is the Associate Editor of BYTE

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