Smartphones have witnessed explosive growth in the last couple of years. The ease of access to the Internet and social networks on smartphones has enslaved us in such a manner that ‘Smartphone addiction‘ is now a well-known jargon in psychiatric medical circles. However, riding on the wave of smartphone success a new villain has already arrived in our midst – smartphone thefts. This is a fear faced by most users, as smartphone theft in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate.
If data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to be believed, in New York City alone smartphone thefts have increased by 40 percent over the last year. In other cities, the situation is more serious. A case in point being San Francisco, where half of the robberies committed includes a smartphone, whereas nationwide one in three robberies involve smartphones. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has termed smartphone thefts as a ‘National Epidemic‘.
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To combat this rising menace, in April 2012, the CTIA (erstwhile known as Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) – now widely known as “The Wireless Association” – had proposed a four-step plan. The last leg of this plan involved all mobile operators, across the nation, to compile a consolidated single multi-carrier global list of all 4G/LTE Smartphone database. The deadline for this activity was set for November 30th this year.
The CTIA, along with the FCC and law enforcers from major cities announced that the last step of the four step plan, was successfully completed before the deadline of November 30th. The database of 4G/LTE smartphones has been created and the next step would be to ensure integration with similar international databases.
Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA – The Wireless Association has the following to say:
“Today, I am pleased to confirm that the global, multi-carrier, common database for LTE smartphones has been finalized and implemented in advance of the November 30, 2013 deadline. The matter of stolen devices is extremely important to the wireless providers, which is why they worked so hard over the last year to meet each deadline on time. As more countries and more carriers around the world participate in the 3G and 4G/LTE databases, criminals will have fewer outlets since these stolen phones would be blacklisted and could not be reactivated.”
“Another important element to stopping stolen phones is consumers. To assist users, we offer a list of apps to download that will remotely erase, track and/or lock the stolen devices. We also remind consumers to pay attention to their surroundings. Similar to your purse or wallet, it’s best to not call attention to your smartphone and create an opportunity for a thief to steal it (e.g., leave it on a restaurant table, use it while walking or taking public transportation, allowing strangers to ‘borrow’ it to get directions, etc.).”
Android has the inbuilt Android Device Manager which provides users with the option to remotely wipe or lock their stolen devices. It also is capable of tracking the phones’ location – for which the GPS needs to be switched on. The device manager can be accessed on your android phone through Google Setting > Android Device Manager. You will need to check both the options ‘Remotely locate this device’ and ‘Allow remote lock and factory reset’. Other security apps available on Google Play also provide similar functionalities.
But in conclusion, security of your smartphone lies in your hand. Stay Vigilant, Stay Safe.