Cell phone theft has been on the rise for years, with 1.2 million smart phones stolen in 2013 alone, but there is evidence that new security options offered by major brands like Apple and Android may be effective when it comes to preventing and tracking down stolen phones.
According to a report cited in the article above, with 368.9 phone thefts per 1000,000 people in 2013, that’s about 1 of every 10 thefts involving cell phones. And according to a report by Lookout, a mobile security firm, 113 cell phones are lost or stolen every minute in the U.S. These numbers are not terribly surprising given the rise of smartphone use in the past years, but with increased use also come increased security measures offered by major providers.
At the end of 2013, Apple introduced its new activation lock feature and Find My iPhone authentication. Find My iPhone helps you to locate your missing phone by remotely locking it, with the option to also erase personal data. Activation lock simply requires users to enter a PIN or password to activate the phone so when it’s locked, no one but the owner can access data. And with the new iPhone 6, Apple also encrypts your data by default, something Android and Google followed themselves, and something that has been getting some debate in the civil liberties department. Android 4.0 also includes several new security features like a brand new lock screen feature where you are able to set a password or PIN to protect your phone, and a new facial recognition option for unlocking your phone. To work this feature, just hold your phone in front of your face and within seconds the phone automatically unlocks.
Even if you don’t use the security options available on your smartphone, there are a few tips you can use to keep your phone safe and prevent a stolen phone in the first place. First, right when you get your phone, write down the number of your device, typically located on the back. Record any information you can: model number, serial number, and the device id number (known as the IMEI). Keep this information in a safe place and if your phone is ever lost or stolen, all you have to do is give your cell phone provider and/or the police these numbers and they can instantly deactivate the phone and possibly track it down. This doesn’t mean you will necessarily get your phone back, but at least you can protect your data. Another tip, which is especially important during the busy holiday shopping season, is to simply be aware of your surroundings and use your phone wisely. Most of us casually stroll through crowded shopping malls with our phones in hand or maybe in our back pockets. It takes seconds for someone to snatch your phone, sometimes without you even knowing. Try to keep your phone as close to you as possible, and keep it safely out of sight when possible.
However, for most of us it’s not just about the replacement cost of a new phone; most of our phones contain tons of private information and irreplaceable photos that far outweigh any monetary loss. For this reason, some people take it one step further and consider installing anti-theft software, like COMODO Anti-Theft, which has several features to protect your phone, including locating and locking it, wiping the phone’s memory, and more.
The point is smartphone theft is a very common occurrence and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can suffer identify theft or worse since most of our lives from banking information to personal data are now stored on our phones and it’s a smart idea to consider security options to keep your phone and your personal information secure.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00KKC4MUW,B00KILOR1E,B00Q8G5ASM]