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Mobile security “kill switch” considered by device giants

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Smartphone manufacturers are now thinking about adding this anti theft feature.

As mobile security threats and device theft become an increasing problem, and many of the leading manufacturers of smartphones and tablets have started to consider the use of the controversial “kill switch” features.

These companies are thinking about installing the kill switches to provide consumers with greater control over their devices.

Among the companies that are purportedly thinking about kill switches for tablets and smartphones include LG Electronics Co., and Samsung Electronics Co. They would be added specifically as mobile security feature so that stolen devices could be rendered inoperable and criminals would not be able to use them not only to make texts and calls, but also to access sensitive user information that is stored within the device.

mobile security for smartphoneThis mobile security feature could help to prevent thefts from occurring in the first place.

The purpose of this additional mobile security feature is also to discourage thieves from stealing devices that are made by the manufacturers that install them. It would give the manufacturer and carrier the ability to lock the smartphone or tablet, even if the firmware has been hacked or the SIM card has been replaced.

The latest data from the National Policy Agency has suggested that smartphone theft is becoming a very rapidly growing mobile security issue. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of these reported device thefts has grown by a whopping 457 percent. Where it was 5,575 in 2009, it skyrocketed to 31,075 in 2012.

With these figures, other points should also be taken into consideration. For example, last year, the Korea Customs Service allegedly blocked 1,887 attempts to smuggle smartphones out of the country. Comparatively, in 2010, there were only 131 smartphone smuggling attempts that were made and blocked.

According to Lee Dong-hyung, the ministry’s Telecommunications Policy Bureau chief, released a mobile security related statement that explained that “Consumers should remain cautious and take phone safety measures by themselves, noting that it is ultimately their responsibility to protect their phone.” The hope of the manufacturers is that the kill switch will help to support consumers in making that effort, even when their guard has been let down for a moment.

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