News

Kill switches slash smartphone thefts

London, San Francisco and New York have all reported drastically reduced smartphone thefts thanks to kill switches.

Android security

London has noticed the biggest fall in smartphone thefts at an astonishing 50 per cent, with San Francisco slightly behind on 40 per  cent and New York reporting a drop of 25 per cent.

This is thought to be mostly down the the introduction of kill switches, a setting that means a phone can be remotely locked and wiped if it is stolen. This makes it much harder for criminals to sell it on and that has seen the number of snatched smartphones drop.

While the state attorneys of San Francisco and New York had been keen to force smartphone manufacturers by law to include kill switches in their handsets, companies such as Samsung, Google and Apple have taken the initiative and have added the technology before being legally forced to. Microsoft is also expected to add the function in their next wave of smartphone models.

Although some models come with the technology pre-activated, some consumers have to activate the remote locking themselves. This varies with device. While there are plenty of apps and lock screens that have theft deterrents built into them, this is the first time remote locking has been included in pre-loaded software, hence the drop in thefts as thieves are aware that users don’t have to have downloaded something to make it difficult to sell on.

Do you think this is a good idea? Should it have been around much earlier? Let us know in the comments.

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