Google & Andriod to introduce Kill Switch

Google & Andriod to introduce Kill Switch
Thursday 03 Jul 2014 [13:35]

Google & Android to introduce 'Kill-Switch'

Google and Android have announced they will be adding a 'kill-switch' feature to all their newest phone operating systems. The feature is a method of making a handset completely useless if stolen.

Mobile phone theft is currently one of the highest forms of crime worldwide with statistics showing, 3.1 million mobile devices were stolen in the USA during 2013 and 1 in 3 Europeans experiencing theft throughout the same year. Authorities have been urging tech firms to take steps to help curb phone theft and with Apple and Samsung already offering a similar feature on some of their devices, they feel the introduction of the kill-switch on more operating systems can help resolve the problem of theft.

The kill-switch will offer two features; a 'hard kill' would render the devices permanently unusable, authorities who want to give stolen devices the 'value of paperweight' favour this. The other option would be a 'soft kill', which only makes the phone usable to authorised persons.

Some people argue the only way to disable a phone permanently is to physically damage it. Experts are worried hackers could find a way to hijack a kill signal and turn the phone off.  If the phone is off or in aeroplane mode it won't receive the kill signal at all.

Despite some doubts that the 'kill-switch' will help reduce theft on mobile devices, Apple have shown when they introduced the 'Activation Lock' onto all IPhones running IOS 7 in September last year, it helped reduce the number of recorded thefts substantially.
IPhone robberies fell 24% in London and 38% in San Francisco in the six months after Apple introduced the feature, compared to the previous six months.

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Mon 19 Nov 2018 04:06:29