Tag Archives: iOS

Compromised by Siri

As the holiday season approaches, you may find yourself in one or more festive parties, surrounded by strangers.

Here’s a way to get to know them better: Ask them for their iPhone, (locked, of course, because who would hand their unlocked iPhone to a stranger), press the Home button to activate Siri and ask this:

Who owns this iPhone?

When Siri cutely responds, and assuming the ambient noise from the party isn’t overly loud, you’ll be presented with the “Me” card from their contacts.

If they’re like most people, it will not only display their name, phone number and address, but their email addresses and any other information kept in that record, including any relationships Siri knows about (Father: Homer, Mother: Marge). Boom, everything you need to know about them.

This seems like an overly generous amount of information to share with a perfect stranger who is not in possession of your Passcode or thumb print.

If they are like some people, (and where it gets even more worrisome) you may also find that they’ve put password or PIN information into that contact record. Or heck, maybe even the Passcode for their iPhone. Obviously, this presents somewhat of a security risk.

You can repeat this process with any of the relationships on their Me card or even by guessing arbitrary common names that might be in their address book.

The moral of this story would be this: If you allow Siri to have access when your iPhone is locked, don’t store sensitive information in your Contacts. Siri will offer it up without ever asking for your Passcode. And you may wish to create a second “Me” card in your Contacts with considerably less information than you’ve currently got.

The more secure option would be to disable Siri from the Lock Screen like this: Settings > Passcode > [enter your Passcode] then in the “Allow access when locked” section, turn off Siri.

Less convenient? Sure. But you’re making it less likely that a stranger will know anything you don’t share with them over a glass of festive beverage.