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Thursday, August 29, 2013

“Kill Switch” for Stolen Smartphones and Tablets Planned for 2014

'Kill switches' include a feature that would allow users
to permanently disable their phone if lost or stolen in order
to protect access to their data, as well as phone usage.
As reported by Android Community: This isn't the first time we've heard the term “kill switch” when talking about smartphones. Samsung has talked about it in the past, and now some new reports from the Wall Street Journal is stirring things up again. This new anti-theft system looks to finally curb a massive and growing problem, and it’s already in some devices already.

Stolen phones are a huge problem, and has only increased severely with iPhone and Android phones in nearly every persons hand. The “kill switch” would reportedly make the device completely unusable, which would make stealing ones device rather useless. I like this idea already.
It's estimated that 113 cell phones are lost or
stolen every minute in the U.S. alone.

Smartphone theft has reportedly jumped nearly 500% from 2009, and isn't showing any signs of slowing down, so something surely needs to be done. Swapping the SIM card, wiping the phone, or even flashing new firmware wouldn't get around this “kill switch” and the point of stealing a device would be gone. It’s a big move, and something we've seen and heard before.

The folks from Apple have Find my iPhone, and Google’s recently launched a similar service for Android, although it only finds it. Not to mention Pantech started offering this kill switch on all their devices earlier this year. For now we don’t have exact details, but the WSJ reports that both Samsung and LG could introduce this with all their phones moving forward starting in early 2014.

It's estimated that 113 cell phones are lost or stolen every minute in the U.S. and that $7 million worth of smartphones are lost daily.

Keeping the 'kill' process speedy but secure will be the biggest issue, so that hackers or other entities are not able to kill your phone without your permission - while limiting access to the phone till you are sure you want to permanently disable the device.