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How to Steal a Mac, How to Steal iPhone Data

Who's dumb here?


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This article isn't an admonition to steal. It's an admonition to look at the snake oil people are trying to sell you.

How Not to Steal

A goofy thief will snatch a Mac, open it, play with it - and might very well get roasted. That's the goofy thief. Thieves worth their salt won't do that.

The goofy thief lets himself get roasted by dumb apps like Orbicule's Undercover. And there's no reason for that.

How to Steal a Mac

√ Physically disconnect the Internet. Make sure your stolen Mac can't come into contact with a router or hotspot. You might need to get into single user mode to fix this.

√ Have a set of install discs at the ready. You don't go booting a Mac you just stole, just like that. Duh. What you want is the computer hardware - not some idiot's holiday pics or personal porn stash. You're in the business of selling the Macs, not using them. You're a businessman.

√ Maybe boot into single user mode first. Take a look around the hard drive. You might find stupid things like Orbicule's Undercover. Check for /usr/bin/uc/uc - if you find it, remove it. (You've just disabled their entire protection scheme.) Look in the 'LaunchDaemons' directories and remove any vestiges of 'protection' software. (You'll know them all if you're a pro.) Even if you plan on wiping and reinstalling the OS (which you should) you can at least get some good lulz.

[Older versions of Undercover use the path '/private/etc/uc.app/Contents/MacOS/uc'.]

√ Look around for other signs of Undercover. Use 'find' to locate and remove things with 'com.orbicule' in their names (often anchored to the left). Things like connected.plist, com.orbicule.uc.hijack, com.orbicule.uc.failure, and junk the app leaves in /Users/Shared. Search and remove 'Eyesighter.app'. And so forth. (Pros already know this. That's why they're pros.)

√ Insert the appropriate install disc for the OS version you want, hold down C, start the machine. Do a wipe and install. Do a complete hard drive shred first for safety's sake. Take the roughest shred available. (Probably Gutmann.) This takes time - Apple's algorithm is a bit klutzy - but it's worth it. Not much chance then of anybody tracing you.

[You should do this anyway and skip the above step. That was just to show you how easy it is to defeat dumb 'anti-hijack' applications.]

How to Steal iPhone Data

Maybe you stole an iPhone with one of those silly apps that 'hides' data on a Unix system? Such as iDiscrete? No problem.

From the blurb at a Mac site:

The icon and stated name of the application are unassuming: the name shows simply as 'iD' under a plain blue orb of an icon. Launching the app is equally mundane, as a 'Loading...' screen quickly comes up. But, importantly, this is the screen that makes all the difference. If the user is the iPhone's owner, then they know that this is actually the password screen, and that touching various regions of the screen, in the correct order, will open up the app. The developers call this Touch Sequence Protection(TM). On the other hand, if the user is a curious trespasser, they will regard the 'Loading...' screen as just part of the app, which, when it eventually loads, appears to be some sort of text-entry app. Boring. Close.

It is exactly this reaction in an unauthorized user that iDiscrete intends to provoke, and it is exactly this factor that sets it apart from the competition.

Preschool security. And every thief will know about it anyway. So it's no challenge at all.

You can't hide data on a Unix box. Even an iPhone. You can encrypt it and you can protect it. But trying to 'fool' people into not knowing it's even there is just dumb. It's 'security through obscurity' and there's nothing more stupid in computer security.

Don't go out stealing Macs and iPhones. Crime only pays in the short run (if that). But don't go spending money to 'protect' your Mac or iPhone either. You're wasting your money. The professional thieves are only laughing at you.

The software is terribly designed, if it was designed at all.
 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Hero Coders

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