Apple sued because two-factor authentication… oh, I give up

Will someone please buy this guy an Android?

Apple sued because two-factor authentication.. oh, I give up

There are plenty of things worth getting really upset about.

Racism. Climate Change. Brexit (regardless of whether you’re pro-Brexit or anti-Brexit, you’re almost certainly feeling very unhappy about how things are going.)

What you shouldn’t be getting upset about is the security that companies like Apple put in place to help prevent your accounts being hacked.

And yet, a man called Jay Brodsky is bringing a class action against Apple in California, complaining that two-factor authentication (2FA) on an iPhone or Mac takes too much time.

In his class action suit, Brodsky alleges:

  • Apple enabled 2FA on his account without his explicit consent. Which seems very odd, as my experience has been that Apple only offers 2FA on an opt-in basis.
  • 2FA is too inconvenient to actually set up - requiring several steps on several devices.
  • 2FA is just too darn inconvenient to use… because it requires to both remember a password *and* have access to a trusted device. Umm, isn’t this exactly how 2FA is supposed to work? Helping to stop hackers simply needing your password to break into your accounts.
  • Apple doesn’t let you disable 2FA after it has been enabled for two weeks straight. This appears to be true. It looks like Apple gives you 14 days’ grace to deactivate 2FA if you wish, but after that… you’re 2FA-secured. Of course, this could be argued to be a good thing security-wise.
  • 2FA is required every time an Apple device is turned on. Really? Can’t say I’ve noticed.
  • 2FA takes between two to five minutes to complete. Hmm. When AppleInsider got its stopwatch out, it reckoned the 2FA process took them in total about 22 seconds to complete.

Brodsky goes on to claim that “millions” of Apple users are suffering “harm” and “economic losses” because of the large amount of time that 2FA eats up.

Will someone please buy this guy an Android? Or maybe offer him some free technical support so he can log into his account a wee bit faster?

Hear more discussion on this case in the latest edition of the “Smashing Security” podcast:

Smashing Security #115: ‘Love, Nests, and is 2FA destroying the world?’

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Other… | RSS

Further reading: The man suing Apple over two-factor authentication has ‘previous’.

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18 Responses

  1. John

    February 18, 2019 at 4:54 pm #

    Apple should be sued for this shit. The goal is to force anyone with an Apple device to have a second Apple device in order to use the first one.

    • Dawn in reply to John.

      February 18, 2019 at 10:00 pm #

      Bull. Add another phone number

    • Joe in reply to John.

      February 19, 2019 at 3:45 pm #

      What a dumb comment. If you’re “anti-Apple” then buy a different product, it’s that simple

    • Dawn in reply to John.

      February 21, 2019 at 3:51 pm #

      Or you can add a second phone number and only own one product. Geez

  2. coyote

    February 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm #

    Ridiculous. Frankly It never registered that it takes a few seconds. Never noticed it. And if he has such a problem with it why did he enable it in the first place? His own fault. And if he’d rather more insecurity then that’s his choice. Let’s just hope it doesn’t cause other people problems.

    Beyond petty. About as stupid as the woman who spilt hot coffee on herself (what kind of person would put hot coffee between their legs is beyond me) and because she’s careless (and stupid?) she decided to sue for it. Funny though… Stupidity is something of a speciality of humans (and a STI though that does not mean everyone has symptoms as such) and it says volumes (of coffee?) that more people don’t try and profit from their own stupidity. Whether that’s because they’re too uncreative to see it I do not know but I’d like to believe it’s they’re not that pathetic.

    • Bill in reply to coyote.

      February 19, 2019 at 9:37 pm #

      I agree the 2FA lawsuit is stupid but the spilled coffee lady turned out to be legit. Everyone got it wrong and dragged her name into it when she was in the right.

  3. cruachan

    February 18, 2019 at 6:59 pm #

    Is this Marissa Mayer in disguise? She was “too busy” to even lock her phone whilst CEO of Yahoo.

    Presumably if Apple disable 2FA and he gets hacked he’ll sue them for that too.

  4. Pete

    February 18, 2019 at 7:04 pm #

    Nothing surprises me any more. Just look at the quailty of the jerks people elect to public office…and nowhere on planet Earth is that more evident than in California, where this clown is bringing his lawsuit.

    There is no substitute for personal responsibility. You can’t elect morons to take responsibility for your behavior, or expect the state to come to your rescue when the cost of being.a responsible user is the “inconvenience” of the time it takes to secure your systems.

    It’s especially incongruous that this jerk is suing Apple, of all companies. There’s plenty Apple does that annoys me, but I can’t fault them on their efforts to streamline the process of making my devices and my account more secure. Once it’s set up, it’s actually pretty unintrusive.

    Normally, I’d say that such an idiotic lawsuit is likely to get thrown out. But in California, where the state is aggressively legislating to protect people from even having to take responsibility for their own emotions, this kind of idiocy is business as usual.

  5. Angie Jones

    February 18, 2019 at 7:23 pm #

    No organisation as far as I know sets up 2-factor authentication for you as a default, you have to opt in and set it up yourself. He’s probably tried to log into his Apple ID too many times with the wrong password, so he’s been locked out.

    This compensation culture has got out of hand. It makes you wonder how many companies have been sued and lost. I personally think some people shouldn’t be allowed out!

  6. Arya

    February 18, 2019 at 8:05 pm #

    @coyote Again with the misconceptions. That woman got third-degree burns on her legs and genitals and needed extensive surgery to treat.

    • Jim in reply to Arya.

      February 20, 2019 at 8:15 am #

      He didn’t say the injury wasn’t serious, he said who puts a cup of hot coffee between their legs. All it takes is something unexpected to happen, and the person squeezes their legs and coffee everywhere.

  7. Mike C.

    February 19, 2019 at 1:26 am #

    This is almost too funny, except that it gives other “smart” people the wrong ideas. I have 2FA turned on anything I can to protect my self. I stress it to my family, who unfortunately thinks the same way this cheese ball thinks. “I don’t want to turn that on, it will take an extra 2 seconds Everytime, and I just don’t have the time.” Till their stuff gets hacked.….….and then I never hear the end of it.……

  8. Filip

    February 19, 2019 at 2:14 am #

    SMS not secure, Mobile operator can send a text message if your phone has been switched off and on immediately (throttling).

  9. Arf

    February 19, 2019 at 3:02 am #

    Apple should not make the opt-out period limited to 2 weeks. We should have ability to disable 2FA after 2- weeks.

    Apple does not allow you to opt-out of 2FA after 2 week period, which is insane.

  10. Joe

    February 19, 2019 at 3:50 pm #

    Is this guy for real? Why wouldn’t you want 2FA. I wouldn’t lose any sleep if this moron has his sensitive data stolen.

  11. Dan N

    February 19, 2019 at 4:40 pm #

    I predict Apple will do some custom work to manually opt him out as part of a settlement. Then, because of all the press, he will become a target and get hacked, and sue Apple again because they didn’t adequately protect him from hackers.

  12. Ray

    February 21, 2019 at 12:05 am #

    Totally agree with the lawsuit. I’m sick and tired of finger print scanning that’s a joke, constant entering of pass codes, 2-factor requiring a second device, Apple ID re-entry’s, constant updates, constant maintenance.

    If people want a stupid electronic device to control a good part of their life (uh, the above seems like a good proxy of the people I’m referring to), so be it. But I’m drawing myself away from all this nonsense. Gradually but by the time I’m done I’ll be back to a flip phone. A luddite for sure.

    Oh, jee, a few days ago yet another email from yet another service I use, letting me know their servers got hacked, and all my personal information got stolen. A few years ago talked to my bank’s security department as my credit card had unauthorized use 6 times. Each time the card was replaced with a different number. Only 3 companies had my credit card on file. Apple was one of them. The bank fingered them as having recently been hacked. Oh, and I need to put up with Apple nonsense to make sure no one can access all my important information.

    You folks are so far beyond understanding the problem you probably shouldn’t be working in tech.

    Yes, I came out of Tech.

  13. Nexus

    February 25, 2019 at 3:14 pm #

    No guys, this 2FA thing is causing a lot of trouble, especially for developers around the world who have multiple accounts that are decoupled from their personal icloud account.
    Apple recently forced developers to use 2FA and has caused a lot of developers locked out of their accounts already. Take a look at the developer forums on reddit and macrumors.

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