Smartphone Theft in the U.S. Nearly Doubled Last Year

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iheartpcs

A potential solution??

You mean there is no way to prevent phones being stolen right now??

Odd then how my phone has never been stolen. Might it have something to do with the fact that I'm not an idiot and don't give thieves an opportunity to steal it?

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Joji

This has nothing to do with phones, but reading the title, the article, and the comments made me remember 2 depressing things in my life:

1. My G-Shock Watch got stolen in college.
2. My light-blue DS Lite got stolen along with 3-4 games bought full price when I was a kid.

If only those devices had a tracking system or something... but like a lot of you mentioned, I would be too lazy to put counter measures in them, let alone understand how to add counter measures.

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LatiosXT

Just to add...

I don't think thieves are stealing phones to get your information. They're stealing it because they can hock it for a pretty penny. iPhones especially retain their value for ridiculously long periods of time (the iPhone 5 still goes for over $300 on eBay).

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Opm2

Out of necessity comes innovation...

If the cell phone companies won't help,there is room for third party intervention.

Micro SD cards that can be remotely triggered to burn and melt the circuitry..
Batteries that can do the same...

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LatiosXT

How are you going to guarantee that a hacker can't hijack the system and cause a mass terrorist-like incident by setting everyone's battery on fire?

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John Pombrio

Why does this remind me of the book "Cell" by Stephen King?

There was an auto accident when a guy was delivering a large box of beepers to a business. The beeper company sent out a mass beep to each of them simultaneously to welcome them to the service. The ear splitting BEEP that came out of the box caused the driver to swerve and crash into some bushes.

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John Pombrio

Lots of good replies here. I guess the best way to handle this is cheap phones. Make a phone good enough with the technology but cheap enough that stealing it would not be worth the bother. Turn off the phone service to the stolen phone and buy another.

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vrmlbasic

Sigh. More "protect people from themselves" nonsense.

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maverick knight

As a former police officer I can tell you that for law enforcement the terms lost and stolen are synonyms. This means that there is no actual investigation when people report a lost/stolen item. Since there is no actual investigation there is no way to verify if it was actually stolen. So the police may take the person's word for it or classify the reports as "lost/stolen."

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SliceAndDice

Keep your wallet and smart phone in your front pockets or you're asking for it

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John Pombrio

Now think of walking around with Google Glass. Snatch and run.

I can readily see how easy it would be to steal a smartphone. Watch folks walking down the street while they are using it. They hold it out in front of themselves loosely held in one hand like they are handing it to the thief. You might as well also put a sign around your neck that says STEAL MY PHONE.

I have butchered my sleek lightweight phone with a rubber case and a lanyard that goes around my wrist twice while I am using it. Then I keep it in a large leather case. Pretty hard to steal IMHO.

The proper way to handle this is to brick the devices if they are reported lost or stolen and require registration when purchased to reactivate it back at a secure location if found or recovered. As another poster said, it completely depends on getting the users to do that.

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JosephColt

You can locate your phone by GPS instantly with Google android manager, ring to locate it, and lock/erase it remotely by logging into your google account.

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LatiosXT

I'm wondering the demographics of those who reported the phone stolen, and how much of that was actually stolen, or just lost and the person thought it was stolen. I also don't like how there's some push to get antivirus software on my phone. I get my apps through official channels and check the security permissions.

And what's the check if a phone is lost or stolen? Unless there's some hard embedded SN like in the Pentium 3 chips, you could easily spoof IDs.

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MrHasselblad

Just as you inferred... There is indeed embedded security/tracking technology that is built into most every computer chip made since about 1999; that also exists in literally every mobile phone sold in North America at this time.

Nothing short of completely destroying the chip disables it. In both computers and phones it even works after wiping any drive device; even also after replacing former drives with completely new ones

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John Pombrio

Whatever the technology that is present, it does not seem to be deterring theft. Only a total brick would work.

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jgrimoldy

John,

While I fully agree with what you're saying (and it sounds like you won't be having your phone grabbed out of your hands any time soon), the idea of any sort of remote bricking has me a bit concerned.

How do you keep hackers from obtaining the ability to remotely brick phones? What keeps the carrier from bricking your phone for non-payment? What about Apple remotely bricking because you jailbroke?

I don't have any answers, and I agree about the need to completely deter theft. It's just it's a little disconcerting.

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MrHasselblad

Good point.

Most mobile phones, or even most hoe internet does have the ability to lock up any of their devices from being used further. ...But also do not share this tech with consumers

A major part of the problem is that most consumers are just plain lazy. How many people out there have their phone EID? How many people with phones ever encrypt data?

I've seen people with laptops costing many thousands, that never bother to PRE-PREPARE their device in case it gets stolen. That some of these programs are next to nothing or even free. That if their laptop would ever get stolen, that it can easily be tracked down.

The same technology does exist for phones, but is rarely used.

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John Pombrio

I think you are saying that the smartphones are smarter than the users. We need dumber smartphones.

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LatiosXT

We just need "dumbphones".