Smartphone, tablet apps can locate stolen unit, take photos of thief
MANILA, Philippines—Your smartphone or tablet is stolen when suddenly it begins taking photographs of the thief and then upload it on a website.
Computer security company Kaspersky Labs launched in the Philippines Wednesday its new mobile security software made especially for smartphones and tablets that can remotely locate a lost or stolen device and even wipe all personal data on it.
The Kaspersky Labs’ Mobile and Tablet security apps, at the same time, will be able to take pictures of an unauthorized user who tries to access the phone and upload it to a web-based control center that is registered with the phone’s user or email it to a specified address.
This “Mugshot” feature that uses a smartphone’s front-facing camera can identify the culprit in case the phone was stolen, Bryan Sat, Kaspersky Lab SEA, Philippines Business Development Manager, said in a press launch Wednesday.
Another feature that complements the “Mugshot” is the GPS locator feature, which uses the phone’s own GPS to find its exact location and show it on the internet control center, Sat said.
Phone owners also have the option to completely delete all the data stored in the phone in order to protect the user’s private information.
“Filipino users are very vulnerable to threats that come with mobile device ownership—theft or loss of device as well as real malware threats,” Sat said during the launch.
“Smartphone and tablet users now need to understand that safeguarding their device is critical and they have to do it now,” he said.
The security app also has privacy and anti-virus features that can protect users from malicious software which steal sensitive information without the user’s knowledge.
Jesmond Chang, Kaspersky Labs’ Corporate Communications SEA Assistant Manager, said that mobile devices are open to risk because “more online communications and transactions are happening on tablets and phones; internet is no longer unique to PCs.”
He said that back in 1994, there was only one new virus every hour, but in 2006 there was one new virus every minute, and in 2011, there was one new virus every second.
These new viruses could get into smartphones through malicious emails, social networks, and even through simple web browsing.
Because of these vulnerabilities, Chang advised people to take appropriate steps such as being vigilant when receiving emails from suspicious people that contain links, refraining from indiscriminate web browsing, and getting apps only from trusted web sites.
He said that some 95 to 99 percent of viruses and malware are on Android operating systems correlating with the proliferation of mobile devices that run on Android.
The Kaspersky security software has features that protect smartphones from virus attacks and can detect websites that are likely to contain malicious software.
The software can block suspected dangerous websites to prevent unintentional downloading of malicious software as well as viruses. It will also protect the user from fake banking and online shopping sites that can steal a person’s credit card information.
Users also have the option to block numbers to prevent unwanted calls and text messages from being received.
The security program will automatically check all links received on the tablet or phone and determine if they are malicious or will send the user to a fake site.
“It’s no longer a question of whether to secure a device or not. Users face a double risk — they may fall victim to both real street thieves and cybercriminals, who are all after their devices and what’s stored in it more than their wallets,” Sat said.
The Kaspersky Mobile and Tablet security is available for P560 if bought at retail stores and P214 if bought from the Google Play Store.