A Smartphone can be easily carted from a table in a cafe or even hijacked from its user and the likelihood of this possibility is higher than we think. Once a thief has his hands on your device, he can download personal and financial data from the phone, press the factory reset button and then sell it off for a couple of bucks!
While at it, your bank account is also reading red. Until about 3 years ago, half of all thefts in the USA involved mobile devices, while over in London, 10,000 smartphones were stolen every month. Stolen phones generate a great deal of income for the gangs involved in these thefts.
They also generate new business for the manufacturers as the victims of these crimes have to replace their stolen phones. Perhaps this explains why manufacturers were unwilling to implement kill-switches that enable all phones to be turned off remotely if they are stolen or lost until they were coerced by legislation.
In most forms of technology, a kill-switch is a single command or button that can shut down a complicated system almost immediately. On a Smartphone, it’s the power off command. There are two different kinds of kill-switches for smartphones: a hard-kill switch that permanently bars a phone and a Soft kill-switch that makes a phone inaccessible to all but its legitimate owner. All you need is access to a computer, tablet, laptop or another Smartphone to activate the kill-switch remotely. In September 2013, Apple added a kill-switch to its devices. In the following year, the number of stolen Iphones dropped by 50 percent in London, 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York. So far, Apple, Samsung and Google have configured kill-switches on their smartphones.
PROTECT YOUR SMARTPHONE
Do not fall a victim of Smartphone theft. The chances that your Smartphone can be lost or stolen are still very high. Below are a few ways you can protect your Smartphone and its content
Secure your data
This can be done by using a simple 4-digit code or password to lock the phone’s screen. If you use a screen lock that does not require a code to access the phone, you are leaving all your information personal details at risk.
Make a contact sheet
Use your Smartphone’s wallpaper as a contact-me sheet listing your name, an alternate phone number, email address and a financial reward for returning it. However, this could also be a demerit as it gives the thief more access into your personal details
Install tracking software
You can install tracking applications that allow you locate your phone on a map if it’s lost or stolen. Some even let you display a message, remotely lock your device and play loud alarm sound even if the phone is set to silent. You can find out more from your local mobile shop.
Be careful when installing apps
Some apps are harmful so be sure to verify and make sure an app is safe before installing. First, read users reviews to check for problems with a particular app. During installation, pay attention to the type of access the app is requesting. If you feel it’s asking for excessive access, back off and do not install it.
Backup your data
Back up your data on your computer on a regular basis, could be daily, weekly or monthly. The simplest way to do this is to plug your Smartphone into a computer using a USB cord. Then, drag and drop items from the device to your desktop. Fortunately, these days, smartphones automatically back up your contacts an data online such as with Android services that link to your Google account and Apple connecting to Itunes and Icloud.
Use a kill-switch
Get a phone that has a kill-switch or activate the kill-switch you already have on your phone. Note that some Smartphone systems require consumers to opt in for the kill-switch. Such phones are not protected in default mode.
Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
When not in use, turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in order to prevent hacking and related cyber crimes.
Don’t save app login details
It is much safer to actually sign into the apps each time you want to use it especially for banking or social media apps. This is to prevent third parties from gaining access into your personal details with the saved information.
Buy a proximity alarm This is necessary to warn you when your Smartphone is more than a few metres away from you. The proximity alarm comes in two parts –the transmitter and the receiver. Attach the transmitter to your phone. If the phone is taken more than 15 to 25 feet away, the alarm will sound. Test the alarm before buying to ensure it is very loud. Now that you know what to do to protect your Smartphone, DO IT! Prevention is better than cure...