Anti-phone theft app now available for MyPhone users
The “kill switch” feature, a loud, non-stop alarm “Magnanakaw! Magnanakaw!” was the highlight of the Theft Apprehension and Asset Recovery Application (TARA) launched on Tuesday at the Discovery Suites in Ortigas.
The event was attended by whistle-blower and IT expert Jun Lozada, who developed the application, MyPhone president Jaime Alcantara and other MyPhone officials.
TARA is an application “pre-embedded” at the chipset level of MyPhone’s latest gadgets such as Agua, ICEBERG and Agua Vortex, Agua Rain 3G as well as A888 duo.
“We’re only addressing (first) those new models that are going to come out this coming month and onwards…(but) we’re coming out with (android) handsets as low as P1988 and TARA will also be there,” Alcantara said.
To activate the application, mobile users must first create a TARA account by providing basic information such as their full name, secondary mobile number, unique six-digit PIN and an active email address.
“We offer the registration to and use of TARA to MyPhone mobile phone users free of charge,” MyPhone vice president Kevin Lim-Tan said in a statement furnished the media.
“On MyPhone’s end, we provide the enabling mechanism, this anti-theft technology. As a company, we share the responsibility with our device owners on taking measures to address the rampant mobile phone theft in the country,” he added.
Once the phone is stolen, the owner may activate TARA either via text or call.
The mobile user, using another handset, should text LOCK plus the 6-digit PIN (eg. LOCK123456) and then send it to the number of the stolen device or simply call TARA hotline numbers: 847-82-72 (landline), 0917-873-5107 (Globe) and 0925-800-8272 (Sun).
“Once the owner of a stolen Myphone mobile phone activates this (kill switch) feature, a loud, non-stop alarm of “Magnanakaw! Magnanakaw! is set off. Consequently, this renders the device on a full system lock, thus entirely inoperable,” MyPhone said in its statement.
MyPhone said mobile phone thieves would not be able to work around the technology even after change of SIM or by turning off/removing the battery of the device.
Since the application was embedded at the chipset level, it may not be uninstalled despite rooting, re-flash, reformat, hard reset and software update.
“Hindi mo mapipigilan yung nagnanakaw pero at least mapipigilan mo yung purpose ng pagnanakaw, yung economic gain na hinahabol nila (You can’t stop the thief but you can prevent him from cashing in on your phone),” Lozada told newsmen at the press conference.
TARA may only be deactivated by the device owner through a text message or phone call to the dedicated TARA lines by providing the 6-digit PIN.
Aside from the “kill switch” feature, the application also includes the Data Wipe feature, which may be activated via phone call to TARA hotlines so mobile owners may fully secure confidential data saved or installed in the gadget.