Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Find My Mac - needs to be better than it is

So, I work in I.T. and we constantly are dealing with stolen systems.  I started thinking to myself, why is FIND MY MAC (part of iCloud - Find My iPhone) not a good solution?

It turns out that the security built into the FIND MY IPHONE feature of iCloud that extends to hardware systems isn't as good because it can be circumvented.  Why can't the Macintosh platform contain the same security that our iPhones have.

According to a report by the New York City Police Department on the Thefts and Grand Larcenies involving Apple Devices (since the Activation Lock came into production), thefts have dropped by 19% and GL by 29%.  That is great.  It is working as reported and that report was from October 2014 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/09/18/iphone-6-default-kill-switc/).

In fact, CNET (http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/smartphone-thefts-drop-thanks-to-kill-feature/) more recently reported the following:

"The volume of stolen iPhones dropped by 25 percent in New York, by 40 percent in San Francisco and by 50 percent in London over the 12 months after Apple added an Activation Lock to its smartphones"   

So we see it is working great for the iOS platform.  Why isn't it on the Macintosh platform?  It has a FIND MY feature in the iCloud control panel.  But this can be easily bypassed by wiping the system.  

If we can track iPhones, iPads and iPods (Touches), then I say it is time to allow us the option of tracking our Mac's the same way.  While it won't stop a Mac from being wiped or used, it would never FORGET who it is bound too.  Why can't we simply keep that serial number to iCloud association going.

For instance - I have a Mac laptop, it gets stolen.  It was registered to me and bound to my iCloud account.  That system serial number is bound to me.  Now let's further state that this system gets wiped and re-installed with the latest OS.  What is one thing that every Mac does?  It checks for system updates periodically.  Why, at that point, can the check in process for system updates, not include a reference checkpoint to location for the iCloud account.  Furthermore, when someone adds an iCloud account to that Mac, why can't iCloud simply come back and say, "This Macintosh is registered to another account (b*@t*.biz)".

If this was a second hand sale, then, like an iPhone/iPad, it becomes the responsibility of the seller to remove the activation lock on the Mac and also the buyer to verify that the activation lock is clear before purchasing.

Problem solved.  Apple - I am available for hiring!  

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