Deterring mobile phone theft has been on the mind of lawmakers and researchers over the past year, and with good reason. Smartphone theft now accounts for somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of robberies in the US. For those concerned about device security and theft, it’ll be reassuring to know that Verizon’s and US Cellular’s Samsung Galaxy S5s will come with some anti-theft software pre-installed.
Verizon and US Cellular have teamed up with Samsung to ensure that the company’s Find My Mobile and Reactivation Lock anti-theft features come pre-loaded with new Galaxy S5 handsets.
Find My Mobile is an online based service used to remotely track the location of, lock, or call any misplaced or lost handsets, just like several other solutions available for download from the Play Store. The app will event alert the owner if a different SIM card is inserted into the protected smartphone. Reactivation Lock attempts to detect and deter factory resetting of stolen handsets by requiring a successful login even after a handset has been reset.
Whilst these features will be unlikely to deter mobile phone theft on their own, potentially being able to locate and retrieve, or even just erasing personal data from a stolen handset are useful options to have.
“More work needs to be done to ensure these solutions come standard on every device, but these companies have done the right thing by responding to our call for action.” SF District Attorney Gascón and NY Attorney General Schneiderman
Although there is slowly more and more pressure mounting on manufacturers to do more about deterring theft, we don’t have to sit around and wait for carriers and handset manufacturers to implement changes. There are already a wide range of tracking and formatting software suites available on the Google Play Store, such as Cerberus or apps from the likes of Norton. Furthermore, existing Samsung customers can download Find My Mobile for their own handsets, and not forgetting that Google offers its own free tracking, lock, and erase features via its Android Device Manager, which every registered Android device owner has access too.
For the security conscious, little additions like these are well worth considering if you’re planning to pick up the handset on the official April 11th launch date. Perhaps the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be the first of many handsets to ship with enhanced security and theft protection features.