Kill-switches for smart phones getting more widespread to frustrate phone thieves | Inquirer Technology

Kill-switches for smart phones getting more widespread to frustrate phone thieves

By: - Correspondent / @inqmindanao
/ 02:46 PM June 29, 2014

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The installation of a kill-switch on all mobile phone devices appears easier than what has been thought of, and with the recent development in the market, a congressional action might not be needed anymore.

Many phone manufactures have already developed kill-switches and all that’s what left to do is to make these available across models.

As early as 2013, Filipino smartphone maker MyPhone has deployed a technology called Theft Apprehension and Asset Recovery Application

(Tara) – on some models of its products.


MyPhone said it was aiming to help curb massive phone thefts, which in 2012, numbered around 6,600 nationwide.

The Filipino mobile phone manufacturer has the application embedded into the phone’s chipset.

Tara is a little bit similar to what Apple’s killswitch – Find My Iphone – does: wipe the contents of a stolen phone.

But unlike Apple’s, it does not give the owner an idea of where the phone could be.


Jun Lozada, who developed the app for MyPhone, said in a previous interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer that while Tara could not guarantee that the stolen unit would be returned to its owner, it would at least prevent thieves from selling it.

Besides, the stolen phone – even when it is turned off – would regularly set off an alarm and an automated voice would make people know it is not in the hands of the legitimate owner.


While anti-theft efforts by manufacturers such as MyPhone and Apple are already available, others have yet to follow suit.  But software developers are already into it.

Google and Microsoft said they have been developing similar applications too to be embedded in the mobile operating systems that they have developed.

Google, which developed Android, admitted it has already developed a kill-switch, but it has been designed to zero in on malicious apps or privacy violations only. The company said it has not transformed it into a full anti-theft application.

But Android users only have to explore the Internet to find one.

An app – which is touted to be a kill-switch – has already been widely available on GooglePlay since 2012. Called Find My Phone, the app was developed by Glenn Beach, the same developer that came out with “Bake My Day,” and is available for free download.

In June, Microsoft, which has been struggling to keep its operating system on mobile devices amid the Android explosion, said the kill switch it has been developing could also be remotely activated by the owner of the stolen device.

Microsoft did not elaborate on the plan but it hinted that it might get incorporated into an existing app designed to help owners find their phone.

Microsoft said it has been currently working with the Washington-based industry trade association, The Wireless Association, to extend Find My Phone’s (no relation to Bech’s app) features so it would be able to remotely wipe and lock stolen phones.

The thieves would also have no way of reactivating the stolen phone unless they know what the owner’s username and password were.


Bill seeks installation of ‘kill switch’ to prevent cell phone theft

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Anti-phone theft app now available for MyPhone users

TOPICS: Apps, Cellular Phones, kill-switch, mobile phones, MyPhone, Smart phones, technology
TAGS: Apps, Cellular Phones, kill-switch, mobile phones, MyPhone, Smart phones, technology

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