With smartphone thefts becoming rampant, legislators and the telecommunications industry continue to wait for the implementation of a cell phone kill switch, as a possible solution. But a San Francisco-based mobile security firm Lookout is providing other ways to address the problem.
Lookout has turned smartphones and tablets as the latest crime-fighting tool with the invention of the “theftie,” that will help fight smartphone thefts. On Wednesday, the new theft alert function was added to Lookout's premium service for iOS and Android mobile devices that sets out to pinpoint where the device could be located and in some cases, snap a photo of the culprit
The “theftie” is activated when someone enters an incorrect passcode too many times in a row, removes the SIM card or turns the device off. Lookout recognizes the common actions and within a really short time, emails a picture of the thief fiddling with the device using its Lock Cam technology and is sent with a map of the device’s exact location to the registered user. Other actions that trigger an alert include removing Lookout as device administrator and enabling the airplane mode. The user will receive a selfie every time they switch off the phone's data or shut it down for the night.
In fact, one out of 10 smartphone owners in the US, UK, France and Germany have had their phone stolen from them at one point and 68% of victims never recovered their phones according to a report by IDG Research on behalf of Lookout.
Apple and Google are already offering tracking services to find a lost phone. LG Electronics’ recent flagship smartphone that was launched on Tuesday incorporates a “kill switch” that enables the device owner remotely lock the phone, intercepting access to personal information. Lookout’s “theftie” goes even a step further in helping police nab the culprit.
All current Lookout Mobile Security users will get Theft Alerts through an update until September. But if they want to continue using it after that, they will be required to upgrade to the Lookout Premium, which is available for $2.99 per month or $29.99 annually.
The free features of this security app include
- Security and Anti-virus protection: Safeguards against all forms of malicious software
- Find My Phone: Find the device on a map and activate an alarm even if the phone is placed in silent mode.
- Backup & Download: Save the Google contacts and download all the data to the user’s computer
The premium features of this security app include
- Triggering Theftie Alert
- Safe Browsing: Restricts insecure URLS
- Privacy Advisor: Checks on the level of personal information accessed by the apps installed
- Lock & Wipe: Can remotely lock the device, post a custom message on its display, and delete all information
- Photo & Call History Backup