Elizabeth, I think you should be more worried. You really don't care if someone gets all of your info....address and all...and that they have all of your friends info as well? that would worry me. I don't want to be the one that gave that info to a theif! You're worried about your browsing history instead!...lol
@ NadineJ, you are right there is no such app that could reliably destroy the critical data on phone in case of theft or unauthorized access. Tracking apps have their limitations as well because they need certain features turned on to track the device such as GPS. It is no rocket science for snatchers to keep those features off.
The very simple mechanism to thwart the remote control erasure of smart phone data is for the badguy to slip into a triple layer copper envelope, and then remove the battery after taking it to a shielded room someplace. All of the data could be hacked while the phone was in the RF-tightroom, and it would never see the wipeout command. And shielded envelopes are not such sophisticated technology that they would be hard to make. And it only took me a very few minutes to figure that out. So won't the bad guys figure it out also?
Self-destructing smart phone is a great development and a much needed one too considering the security issues we have had with flurry of features and storage added to smart phones now-a-days. Apart from governmental and critical usage, this device is commercially viable as well and I can foresee tremendous response from ordinary users as well. Great work!
True, Lou, mobile devices are probably the most insecure device in terms of security threats and the most vulnerable to intrusion. I think people don't think about it that much--even I personally don't worry too much and don't even have a password for my iPhone. But if I did lose it, it would surely be worrisome and it would be nice to know the device could be wiped of data in this way.
How about a means to phyically destroy the stolen phone, setting it on fire or detonating some explosives inside it. That could certainly take a lot of the profit away from the punks that snatch them away from unwary users on the street. But how can any development cure the bad habit of setting the phone on the table at a restaurant or on 6the bar at a drinking establishment? The one solution that I can imagine is for the user to have an RFID device implated in their body, and the phone to be linked to that one RFID device. Then any attempt to use it away from the assigned person would initiate the data erasure program.
BUT the ultimate security would be to not store any information on the phone, except for the address of the cloud location where the data was held. That location could require a real password and other verifications as well, and once satisfied the data could be available to use through the phone. Of course there would be a bit more cost for the downloading of the data, but only the needed stuff would be downloaded.
All of the smartphones that can log into my company's email as MS Exchange clients have to grant control over their handsets to permit remote erasure and disablement. This is company and domain policy. This feature has been in existance for a few years. Since I use my personal smart phone, not a company phone, I've never granted that permission and thus I can only use web mail which is less convenient and not a real time delivery platform unless you are logged in all the time.
There is at least one app for smartphones that purports to be able to wipe the phone if the owner decides it may fall/have fallen into the wrong hands. The app (along with a web log-in) provides a means to "remotely lock your device, post a custom message and erase your data." Even the free version offers a "Locate & Scream" function - to map the location of the device and make it sound an alarm even if it is on silent.
The difference with the Boeing phone, as I understand it, is that tampering with the phone invokes the self-destruct function, regardless of whether or not the owner has realized that the phone is lost or stolen. That's another level of security - or risk, if the phone has just temporarily fallen into the hands of the owner's curious toddler.
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In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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