In the fight against data theft, LG has taken a big step forward by adding a “kill switch” to its upcoming G3 smartphone. If the phone is stolen, the user has the ability to remotely activate the lock no matter where the phone is. When activated, the LG G3 kill switch will not only wipe all data from the phone, but also put a permanent lock on the device, which makes it very difficult to sell and impossible to use. While this may not prevent theft entirely, it will at least make the phone less of a target and protect theft victims’ personal information.

Phone Theft

According to CNET, one in 10 American smartphone owners have had their phones stolen, and one in every three robberies in the United States involves the theft of a mobile device. To put those numbers in perspective, approximately 1.6 million Americans had their smartphones stolen in 2012, and the cost of purchasing new ones broke $30 billion.

With numbers like these, it comes as no surprise that lawmakers are approaching phone designers and asking for better technology to help protect victims of smartphone theft. One such request has been the standardization of a kill switch in all phones, but because the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) and government officials in the U.S. are concerned about hacking vulnerabilities and insurance complications that could be caused by the technology, the standardization has been delayed. Even so, progress is being made, and CNET reports that Minnesota became the first state in the U.S. to pass a kill switch bill earlier this month, followed by California shortly thereafter.

Phone Providers

The responsibility doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of the state, however, phone providers have slowly been taking steps to increase phone security as well. Said Andrew Coughlin, LG’s head of mobile in the UK and Ireland, “It goes without saying that smartphones are an integral part of our lives. They contain all sorts of personal and confidential information.”

Both Apple and Samsung have also added advanced locking technology that would make accessing phones difficult if they were stolen. Apple added an “activation lock” feature to its iOS back in September, and Samsung has since released a “reactivation lock” feature that performs the same function. The LG G3 kill switch takes this locking technology a step further by making it double as an antivirus scanning program, according to BGR.

What anti-theft features do you hope to see in your next smartphone?

Image courtesy of Flickr




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