Claudia Kolinchak and Victoria Siano
Mobile device theft has become a big business. This is where phones or tablets are stolen for the personal information contained on the device.
In the past, phones had the option to clear information if they were stolen, but not enough people used this resource.
A new solution that has recently debuted is called a kill switch. Towards the beginning of this year, it was announced that it will be mandatory for all phones to come with this. It is an anti-theft feature that will be required on tablets and smartphones. Instead of having customers choose if they want the program, it will be automatically enabled when the phone is in service.
When a phone that has the kill switch is lost or stolen, the owner is able to manually lock the phone to prevent anyone from seeing his or her information. This will render the device useless until the identity of the owner is validated.
Some kill switches may permit wiping of all contacts and personal data. For example, all Apple devices can be remotely wiped by the registered user on iCloud. All one has to do is go to iCloud.com, sign in, locate the device and click “Erase iPhone.”
Kill switches minimize the chances of identity theft. iPhones have the option to have your phone automatically reset if the passcode is guessed incorrectly 10 times. The problem with this feature is that users might forget passwords and would lose access to their phones.
Many of the major companies, such as Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, HTC, Motorola, AT&T, Nokia, Verizon, T-mobile, and Sprint, have signed this pledge and now must have all phones manufactured for sale in the Unites States come with this technology.