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Android Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone? 374

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the self-destruct-fuse dept.
New submitter Adam Jorgensen writes "Last week my 4-week old Moto G phone was stolen while getting onto the train at Salt River in Cape Town, South Africa. That in itself is no big deal. Cellphone theft is a huge problem here in South Africa and I've had at least two previous cellphones stolen. The big deal this time, for me at least, was that this was the first time I've lost an Android phone to theft. When I actually sat down and thought about it, losing a fully configured Android phone is actually a big deal as it provides ready access to all kinds of accounts, including ones Google account. This could potentially allow the thief to engage in all kinds of malicious behavior, some of which could have major implications beyond the scope of the theft.

Luckily for me it seems that the thief did the usual thing: Dumped the SIM card, wiped the phone, and switched it off. It's probably had its IMEI changed by now and been sold on to some oblivious punter, possibly some oblivious punter in another country. Still, the potential for serious issue is making me have second thoughts about replacing the phone with anything capable of doing much more than calling. My question is this: Are there any serious solutions out there for Android that secure against theft?"

He continues:

By serious I mean solutions that go beyond the laughably easy to defeat 'Find My Phone' and 'Remote Wipe' options provided at present. Presently I'm thinking along the lines of:

  • Full encryption of phone contents
  • Some kind of 'Travel Safe' mode that would lock the phone down and trigger a full wipe of not unlocked correctly (Including wiping the phone on next boot if not unlocked before being switched off/running out of battery).

So, any ideas?"

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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone?

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  • Laughably Easy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Monday March 10, 2014 @08:19PM (#46451125)

    Citation needed for the "laughably easy to defeat 'Find My Phone' and 'Remote Wipe' options". How are these laughably easy to defeat? Do tell. Also iphones have a kill switch installed, so they can't be wiped and reused. Compare this to your android solution of asking slashdot. I await more information.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday March 10, 2014 @11:34PM (#46452171) Homepage Journal

    but I'd like to go on record as joining the beta sucks bandwagon

    Instead of cursing the darkness, why not light a candle?

    http://soylentnews.org/ [soylentnews.org]

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @02:47AM (#46452679)

    Really, I am Colombian citizen and Colombia is a country where people tend to steal your shoes if they are not tied tightly to your feet. Third world denizens tend to carry their expensive equipment in their hands as a show of wealth, and they get marked and the phones are easily stolen. I lived on and off in Colombia for years with expensive phones and never got them stolen. Why? I do not use them on the bus, the bar, or in the street. Stop using your smartphone as a status symbol in public.

    This,

    It doesn't matter how wealthy the country is, most people get their phones stolen through carelessness. There may be fewer thieves in a somewhere like London or New York compared to Bogata or Medellin, but they're still there and they're still looking for the same thing, an easy mark. The standards are different, everyone and their dog has their phone out in New York or London so they look for the ones that are drunk and alone, of course people do get their phones snatched in public but because everyone walks around with their phones out, they think that it wont be them (and act so surprised when it happens to them).

    This is why a lot of first worlder's get stuff stolen when they go to developing nations, they've never lived in a place where you have to be on your guard, where your phone will get stolen if you wander around with it.

    I've had a grand total of three things stolen from me in my travels, all due to carelessness on my part but fortunately, nothing that has cost me much to replace.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @02:57AM (#46452717)

    The funny part of stolen phones in Europe is that Europeans predominantly use prepaid SIM cards, so what they are really stealing is airtime for when they plug the stolen prepaid SIM in their own phone, and your phone gets sold or just plain thrown in the trash nearby, since most people trash SIMs instead of reloading them, and as long as they are not post-paid SIMs, the fact that the SIM number moves to another IMEI is not something the phone company cares about recording/tracking.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.

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