Employing a passcode lock on your Apple iPhone 4, 4S or 5 used to be all you needed to do to keep potential thieves from accessing your contacts and photos and making calls using your minutes.
But a new instructional video posted to YouTube on Valentine's Day by The Verge demonstrates that a glitch of some kind in iOS 6.1 has left phones that run the operating system vulnerable to being broken into to allow crafty hackers take advantage of a range of their features.
The video, which we have not independently verified due to the dangers that undertaking the methods described in it could potentially pose to any iPhone, shows a step-by-step breakdown of exactly how to hack a locked iPhone running the iOS 6.1 operating system.
We highly recommend not trying this on your or any other phone, as it is unknown how it could impact the function of your iPhone, but below is a summary of the process for techies out there who just want to know how it works.
The first step is to click the "Emergency Call" button on the "Enter Passcode" lockscreen. Then hold down the power button as if you are trying to turn the phone off, and when it prompts you to slide to power down the phone, instead hit "Cancel."
Then dial an emergency number (the number used in the video is the 112 emergency call phone number used in the European Union, but 911 would presumably do the trick for American readers) and hit the call button but immediately cancel the call.
Now, hit the power button once to put the phone into standby, then press it again to show the home screen once again. Swipe as usual to get to the homescreen, which will be in "Emergency Call" mode.
Then hold down the power button for three to four seconds, and while still holding the power button down press the "Emergency Call" button. Let go of the power button, then immediately hit the home button in order to avoid powering down your iPhone.
This will take you to the phone's contacts, from which you can not only see all the details of the contacts within the phone, but also call them and even access the phone's photographs by attempting to add an image to accompany any of the contacts.
None of the other features of the phone such as email, apps or text messaging seem to be able to be accessed once its been hacked into, but Apple will still likely need to issue a patch in order to address the issue.
And the Huffington Post heard Thursday from a company spokesperson who offered the following statement in response to an inquiry about this newly-revealed iOS 6.1 security glitch:
"Apple takes user security very seriously. We are aware of this issue, and will deliver a fix in a future software update.”