Monday, May 27, 2024
Monday May 27, 2024
Monday May 27, 2024

Inside the mind of a tech thief: Man serving time reveals shocking iphone heist techniques



Former criminal shares cunning strategies that netted $300k in smartphone heist

Ever wondered how a smartphone heist mastermind operated? Meet Aaron Johnson, a 26-year-old currently serving time in Minnesota Correctional Facility, who recently divulged the intricate details of his yearlong spree that led to a staggering $300,000 theft of iPhones.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Johnson, convicted for multiple crimes, offered an unsettling glimpse into his modus operandi, shedding light on how unsuspecting victims fell prey to his scheme.

Johnson’s approach eerily resembled scenes from the movie “Focus,” starring Will Smith. His target demographic? College-age men in dimly lit bars who, according to Johnson, were “already drunk and don’t know what’s going on for real.”

The deceptive process involved befriending the chosen victims, often luring them with drugs or posing as a rapper eager to connect on Snapchat. Once trust was established, Johnson would request their phones under the guise of adding his contact details. However, instead of returning the phones, he would cunningly obtain passcodes.

“I say, ‘Hey, your phone is locked. What’s the passcode?’ They say, ‘2-3-4-5-6,’ or something. And then I just remember it,” Johnson explained.

In some instances, he resorted to recording passcodes as unsuspecting victims entered them. Once in possession of the phone, Johnson swiftly took steps to lock out the owner by deactivating tracking apps, altering passcodes, and changing Apple ID passwords.

Johnson’s audacious techniques went a step further as he enrolled his face in Face ID, gaining access to iCloud Keychain-stored passwords. This, according to Johnson, granted him “the key to everything.”

By the time victims realized the theft, Johnson had already executed transactions using apps like Apple Pay, either for personal gain or to facilitate high-end Apple purchases that could be resold.

As Johnson’s revelations unfold, it serves as a stark reminder to exercise caution and vigilance, even in seemingly harmless situations.


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