Android Phones to Get ‘Kill Switch’


Stop Potential Burglars Nabbing Them

Mobile phones on the android service are set to receive a “kill switch” to stop potential burglars nabbing them. “The feature is a method of making a handset completely useless if it is stolen, rendering a theft pointless. Authorities have been urging tech firms to take steps to help curb phone theft and argued that a kill-switch feature can help resolve the problem. Apple and Samsung, two of the biggest phone makers, offer a similar feature on some of their devices. “


This gives all three of the major operating services a way to combat the rise in mobile thefts. According to a report by US authorities: some 3.1 million mobile devices were stolen in the US in 2013, nearly double the number of devices stolen in 2012; one in three Europeans experienced the theft or loss of a mobile device in 2013; in South Korea, mobile device theft increased five-fold between 2009 and 2012; and in Colombia, criminals stole over one million devices in 2013.


A “hard” kill switch would render a stolen device permanently unusable and is favoured by legislators who want to give stolen devices the “value of a paperweight”. A “soft” kill switch only make a phone unusable to “an unauthorised user”. Some argue that the only way to permanently disable a phone is to physically damage it.


Experts worry that hackers could find a way to hijack a kill signal and turn off phones, and if a phone is turned off or put into aeroplane mode, it might not receive the kill signal at all. Further, authorities claim that Apple’s feature — dubbed Activation Lock, which it introduced on all iPhones running the iOS 7 operating system in September last year — has helped reduce theft substantially.


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