Photo (cc) by shinya
If you already own an Apple Watch, watch out: A security vulnerability may make the smartwatch a tempting target for thieves.
iDownloadBlog reports that Apple’s smartwatch, released last month, comes with security measures that prevent thieves from accessing your data. However, the watch itself can still be used by anyone who steals it.
That’s because Watch OS, the operating system software on which the Apple Watch runs, lacks the Activation Lock feature that’s part of iOS, the operating system for iPhones.
Here’s how Apple describes the iPhone theft deterrent on its website:
Find My iPhone includes a feature called Activation Lock that is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if it’s ever lost or stolen…. This can help you keep your device secure, even if it’s in the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of recovering it.
When Activation Lock is enabled, a thief would need an iPhone owner’s Apple ID and password to turn off Find My iPhone, erase the phone, or reactivate and use the phone.
However, that is not the case with the Apple Watch. As iDownloadBlog reports:
That the Apple Watch lacks Activation Lock is an encouragement to thieves. It means that they stand to make a higher profit, as the device that they’re stealing is totally usable for whoever decides to buy the stolen property.
But while a lost or unattended Apple Watch might be more tempting to a thief, CNET points out it’s harder to steal a smartwatch strapped to your wrist than a smartphone in your hand or pocket.
Additionally, if your Apple Watch is stolen, CNET reports that you can at least disable Apple Pay using iCloud. iDownloadBlog also recommends enabling a passcode to prevent potential thieves from accessing your personal data on the smartwatch.
iDownloadBlog did not specify whether it attempted to reach Apple for comment. CNET reports that the publication could not immediately reach Apple.