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Handhelds Security

'Honey Stick' Project Tracks Fate of Lost Smartphones 222

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tweeting-as-strangers dept.
wiredmikey writes with a quote from an article at Secury Week: "In order to get a look at what happens when a smartphone is lost, Symantec conducted an experiment, called the Honey Stick Project, where 50 fully-charged mobile devices were loaded with fake personal and corporate data and then dropped in publicly accessible spots in five different cities ...Tracking showed that 96-percent of the devices were accessed once found (PDF), and 70-percent of them were accessed for personal and business related applications and information. Less than half of the people who located the intentionally lost devices attempted to locate the owner. Interestingly enough, only two phones were left unaccounted for; the others were all found."
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'Honey Stick' Project Tracks Fate of Lost Smartphones

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:07PM (#39333723)

    Stealing is stealing. Finders keepers is a poor excuse for a total lack of character.

  • Commercial? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:11PM (#39333773)

    Isn't this just a big ploy by Symantec to now sell you some "phone security" program that will A) not work and B) make your phone really slow?

  • Re:Less than half (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:20PM (#39333859) Homepage
    Or ICE (In case of emergency) or Home. Yeah. That's actually one of the problems I have with the iPhone: it doesn't have a way to phone home if you find it locked.
  • Re:Commercial? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:24PM (#39333889) Homepage

    C) And kill your battery

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:26PM (#39333907)

    Stealing is stealing. Finders keepers is a poor excuse for a total lack of character.

    The term "stealing" sure has changed a lot lately. I thought is was actively depriving someone of wanted property. So "copying" is not "stealing." Claiming discarded items is not "stealing." Hitting you over the head and taking it out of your pocket is "stealing." That said, I would try and find the owner to give back the phone. And not doing so is kinda shitty, but it ain't "stealing."

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:27PM (#39333921)

    Should you ever lose your phone, expect the same thing to happen to you.

    He does. He thinks that is normal. He thinks most people are like that. Can you imaging how much it sucks to live in his world?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:34PM (#39333977)

    And your reply is testimony to the "kinda shitty" attitudes with our modern society. Character is what you do when no one will ever know what you did. You and he have none. I would love to reply under my login, but evidently replies like this keep my karma level in the basement.

  • by Jhon (241832) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:35PM (#39333993) Homepage Journal

    Claiming a lost item is "discarded" is some pretty funny "thinkspeak", don't you think?

    I'd suggest you look up what can be considered theft and then re-evaluate your statement.

    I cannot speak of the 49 other states in the US, but I'm familiar with the statutes of CA -- and I can tell you that it *IS* stealing. Shall I waste my time looking up the exact statutes or will you just accept you are wrong?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:43PM (#39334069)

    Since it did happen, it appears he lives in the real world. The real question though, is what world is it that you live in?

  • Scare Mongering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:02PM (#39334231) Homepage Journal
    It is unclear if anyone access data. It appears from the write that people were more interested in personal information(facebook) than corporate espionage.This makes sense as what is the average person going to do with corporate data? Sell to another corporate entity. How many of us has such contacts for espionage? No, we hope to find some embarrassing picture of celebrity that we can sell to the tabloids. So we rifle in facebook and the pictures.

    As far as returning the phone, there has to be someway to get data to return the phone.This involves one of two things. First is waiting for the person to call the phone and hope the person who answers is intent on returning it,or going through the address book and calling people so the phone can be returned. The later was how I got my Razr back when I lost it on the Texas A&M campus. So rummaging though the phone, as some people did, can either be considered snooping or data gathering to try to return the phone. Accessing email may be to send an email say the phone was found, or trying to steal email. The motive is ambiguous, though the scare mongering obvious. If I found a lost phone, I would expect a call on it pretty promptly asking for it back. The lack of such a call would mean that something else was going on.

    In fact the only thing that is clear is that if you lose a phone, there is at least 50% chance that no effort will be made to return it. From the data It seems about half the finders did what any competent thief would do. Remove the sim card, go to the nearest public computer and wipe the phone. The real race when losing a phone is getting a lock before this happens.

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:23PM (#39334389) Homepage

    Is it hard to accept that we do NOT have a moral right to act like a dick?

  • by Zeroedout (2036220) * on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:34PM (#39334477)

    Random thought: It could have been the business phone of an escort. You wouldn't expect to find a home number. And a lot of times the contacts are used to store the phone numbers of creeps they don't want to hear from again, hence the expletives.

    That sounds quite plausible. But I'm curious, how did you come about this information?

  • Re:Finding a phone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rhook (943951) on Monday March 12, 2012 @09:36PM (#39334899)

    At which point your step-dad really does steal their phone. And to top it off he destroys it. What an asshole, I hope he gets fired.

  • by rhook (943951) on Monday March 12, 2012 @09:40PM (#39334931)

    so I called 611 with the phone itself. After explaining the situation to a customer service rep, she very regrettably informed me that even though she had the information right in front of her on her screen, she would not tell me the name of the account holder. Go figure.

    Not only would she get fired for giving you that information it is also illegal for her to do so. You should have just dropped it off at a Verizon store.

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday March 12, 2012 @09:45PM (#39334965)
    I live in a world where most people who find the phone would try and give it back. In my world, people like that are the exception, not the rule.
  • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday March 12, 2012 @10:29PM (#39335257)

    Claiming discarded items is not "stealing."

    Much as I see where you're coming from; actually it is under the law. Lost property remains the property of the original owner, they don't give up ownership to anyone that finds it - just as your house remains yours when you leave in the morning, so your phone remains yours if you leave it on a bench. There are means to legally acquire abandoned property though - adverse possession for example.

    So if you were to notify the owner that you have their property, and they can't be bothered to collect it, after a period of time it legally becomes yours. You can also hand it into the police, and again, after a period of time of non-collection they may return it to the finder to keep (in the UK; a friend of mine when we were kids handed in a found £50 note, and got it back a few months later when it was unclaimed).

    This is why if you unknowingly buy a stolen car, and the owner finds out and claims it back - via reporting it to the police - you get stiffed. The person that sold you the car had no legal right of ownership to transfer, so you own bupkiss, and the original owner gets to claim it back.

    Of course, in practise physical possession is 9/10's of the law, especially for small objects that are hard to track down once mislaid. But picking up a dropped/mislaid item and keeping it, is in fact, stealing - you're intentionally depriving someone else of their property, even if you don't know who that someone is. Best choice is to hand the item into a responsible person where you found it; the barman or shopkeeper for example, as it is fairly likely the owner will attempt to find it via them. Alternatively, hand it into the police with details of where you found it. Keeping it and attempting to return it directly is of course an option, but you might get accused of stealing it in the first place! Leaving it exactly where it was is also an option often forgotten - the owner may well come back for it in a minute.

    Personally, I've returned a fair few items ( though mostly to someone who's literally just dropped it or left it), but including a lady's purse that had all her things that she left in a supermarket trolley, via the shop-keeper. They contacted me later to say that she was extremely happy and surprised to get it all back untouched - apparently there was her pension in there, and she'd expected that at least to go missing. On the other hand, I've had a dropped camera disappear in the 5 minutes it took to come back for it; a wallet that wasn't mine popped back through my letterbox (turned out to be a neighbours); and my dropped wallet returned by a guy walking behind me. A friend of mine also got his laptop back that he left in a taxi; the taxi driver tracked him down and dropped it off personally.

    So you never know; there are a lot more honest people out there than you'd think.

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Monday March 12, 2012 @11:41PM (#39335689)

    A few weeks ago I was passing through the Seattle airport with my family. I found an iPad 2 on the shuttle train between terminals - basically brand new with only the very barest of info on it. We were running behind, so I stuck it in my pack and boarded the plane.

    You found some random, attractive piece of hardware just laying about an airport, and brought it on a plane with you? Please tell me you understand why that might have turned out to be a huge safety problem.

    Before you dismiss that as crazy paranoia, remember the endlessly-popular "USB stick left in the parking lot" vector.

  • by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Monday March 12, 2012 @11:55PM (#39335757)

    Ditto. I left my phone on the roof of my car at a rest area. Came back looking for it an hour later and it had gone. No answer on the phone. Got a call from a mobile phone shop the next day to say that someone had handed it in to them - due to the carrier splash screen. They couriered it to me because I had only been in the city for the day, and had returned home.The best part about it was that I was no longer with that carrier, which they would have known when they looked up my address.

    Nice things do happen, and as houstonbofh said, it is the rule rather than the exception in most places.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @12:25AM (#39335881)

    The terrorists have won.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:35PM (#39348295)

    I should clarify that I actually had time to turn it on in the terminal, nose around a bit and see if there was a phone number or something more immediate I could use to track down the owner (there wasn't). But you're right, it could have been a bomb. Or covered with a biological agent. Or infected with some crazy, hard-drive exploding virus. Or a million other things I can't even imagine. But the Starbucks barista could also be poisoning the coffee, or the pilot could be suicidal, or there might be water in the plane's avgas, or a million other things I can't imagine.

    I refuse to live in fear. And I'll be damned if I'm going to teach my kids to live in constant fear of the world around them.

    But the point of the post was that I returned something to someone because I would want someone to return my things to me. And I'm trying to teach that to my children. (I'm also trying to teach them to say "please" and "thank you", but as it turns out, it's way harder than I thought it would be.)

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