While a mandatory kill switch feature would be a sensible idea for cell phones, people behind the Lookout security app for Android and iOS do not believe it to be the only thing which can be used to safeguard a Smartphone from getting stolen.
A kill switch would enable users of a smart phone to disable a phone which has been lost or stolen and turn it into something useless for the thief. This is great if the phone falls into the hands of someone who it isn’t meant for but it can prove to be a problem if it gets lost. Lookout hopes to offer an intermediate step to owners of phones which aren’t likely to be as permanent as what the kill switch offers.
According to the senior product manager of the consumer team for Lookout, a kill switch can be a good idea if it’s done properly. However it is a last resort for most people as there are other things which can be done before opting for this.
Lookout thus is looking to come up with something just like that. The company introduced a Theft Alerts module for Android and iOS versions its flagship customer app which sends out alerts every time there is any suspicious activity occurring with respect to your phone. The idea is to basically use the software to deal with the problem of phone theft.
The company’s approach with the feature is to identify the common actions of thieves while phones are swiped and to use those to send phone owners email alerts. Actions which can cause the alerts to be triggered include entering wrong passwords, removal of the SIM card, enabling Airplane mode, switching off the phone and attempting to disable the Lookout software from the phone.
While it is enabled, the Theft Alert feature will send out an email containing the details of the suspicious activity along with the location of your phone. On Android, Lookout will take a picture of whoever is meddling with your phone with the use of the front camera however this feature isn’t available for iOS users.
The email which will be sent will include links to help you locate your phone, will display a message to whoever is looking at your phone, lock your phone and wipe it and download the data from your phone to another device. The email will also contain links to contact your mobile carrier and file a report with the police.
The Theft Alert feature will also allow you to customize what will trigger an email alert. This will allow everyone to use the feature according to their own requirements and needs. Lookout will allow every user to select which activities deserve to be leading to an email alert.
It is not difficult to find out why Lookout has added this feature; it’s because the theft of smart phones is on the rise. An internal survey conducted by the company indicates that 1 in every 10 owners of smart phones has been the victim of theft while 68% of those surveyed were unable to recover their phones once they were stolen. Due to such a rise in theft, lawmakers have also been pushed to introduce the mandatory kill switch with one law already being passed through the California legislature.
The feature is part of the Premium version of the mobile app by Lookout and costs $30 annually; $3 a month. Additional to the Theft Alert, Premium users can also have access to safe browsing, enhanced backup features and a privacy advisor. The free version of the app allows users to scan the apps for malware, to back up their call history and their contacts and to locate their missing device as well.