Apple Watch: security settings 'can be overridden if smartwatch is stolen'

But Rolexes have got away with not having a passcode for over a hundred years

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The Independent Tech

Researchers have criticised the Apple Watch for not being impervious to thievery — though its security settings are far more complex than any other luxury watch, and equal with every other smartwatch.

The problem — referred to some as a bug — allows thieves to bypass the passcode lock that keeps the Watch locked down when it’s not being worn. By resetting the Watch entirely, and taken it back to factory settings, the Watch opens back up as a new device.

Some have complained that being able to do so means that the Watches are too easy to steal. The Watches go up to £13,500, making them easily the most expensive Apple product available.

The iPhone and other devices have Activation Lock, which allows them to be entirely shut down if they are stolen. They also work with Find My iPhone, which lets users see the location of their phone on a map. The Apple Watch doesn’t have either feature — and couldn’t, presumably, since it doesn’t have the necessary connection to the internet.

In Apple’s user guide for the Watch, it makes clear that the possibility to reset the phone is a way of getting round the passcode, if users forget it. Resetting the Watch wipes it, so that no data is made available.

 

Android Wear watches have the same vulnerability. Like Apple Watch, they can be locked with a pattern, but can be reset if stolen and used like new.

The two companies should work harder to keep those expensive smartwatches safe, said the Verge. While other luxury watches don’t come with anti-theft measures, Apple should come up with a way to go “the extra mile to protect its users and their hard-earned technology”, wrote Chris Welch.

The website noted that there hasn't been a huge number of reports of stolen Watches, but said that the product is still relatively new. Watches are however selling for large amounts on eBay and other second-hand sites, meaning that thieves would have a relatively easy way to sell those stolen and reset Watches.

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