Smartphone 'kill-switch' implementation sees dramatic drop in related thefts


Smartphone theft is an issue that has grown to epic proportions as more and more people purchase them. Such devices are a perfect target for theft: small, valuable and often rigged with very little in the way of security.

As such, legislators have long been looking at ways to curb the problem, notably in California. One of the most popular solutions has been the idea of the smartphone 'kill-switch', either software or hardware based, allowing users to remotely 'kill' their device should it be stolen. Unfortunately, this idea has been met with a great deal of derision from manufacturers, who have been very reluctant to include such an option in their products.

Despite this, those areas which have introduced legislation to this effect have seen a notable reduction in the levels of smartphone theft. New data has been revealed that, since the introduction of kill-switches to iPhones by Apple in 2013, the smartphone thefts in London have reduced by as much as 50%. Similarly, rates dropped up to 40% in San Francisco and 25% in New York, demonstrating the effectiveness of this option.


As such, that Microsoft intends to include a kill-switch option with their smartphones following the introduction of Windows 10 is a welcome one. Indeed the options available to users in this situation will soon be two-fold, Qualcomm is building a hardware-based kill-switch into its Snapdragon 810 chip. With Microsoft reportedly manufacturing a device sporting this new hardware, users will be well-armed in the event of a theft.

This hardware protection is even more powerful than any software implementation, as it activates before the device boots it is very difficult to get around.

Though Microsoft is among the slowest to have announced its adoption of this new standard, that it is following in the lead of others is nonetheless a comfort for Windows Phone users.

Have you suffered from smartphone theft? Let us know in the comments below.

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