Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Siri Security Glitch Adds to IPhone 4S Problems
A default setting lets anyone who picks up the iPhone 4S to send emails and texts or access a user’s address book, calendar and personal information simply by speaking into it and activating Siri without a passcode, even when the phone itself is password-protected.
Apple likely made Siri available when the screen is locked to facilitate easy, eyes-off, hands-free activation of the voice-recognition software, a nice feature to have when driving or walking around.
The phone toggles Siri’s settings right out of the box, which may surprise unsuspecting users and put them at risk for compromised security, especially in the event of a lost iPhone.
News of the security snafu follows users’ complaints about a yellowish tint on some iPhone 4S screens and reports of connection problems with Siri just a few days after the device launched.
No device debut is without its glitches, but a growing list of iPhone 4S concerns, coupled with last week’s reported problems with the iOS 5 and iCloud download and upgrade, may chip away at Apple’s reputation, something the company probably does not want to risk as it heads into the competitive holiday sales season.
Several technology blogs reported the Siri problem and offered a fix. Users can turn off Siri access when the 4S is locked by visiting “Settings,” clicking “general” and “passcode lock,” then toggling the switch for “allow access to Siri when locked with a passcode” to the off position. After this action is taken, the handset requires passcode entry before Siri can be used.
Not all iPhone users read technology blogs or news, though, so many may be unaware that they are walking around with a potentially unsecured phone in their pockets, or that there is an easy solution to fix the issue.