Imagine having your brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 stolen from you. If you haven’t placed any security software in your device then your sensitive data could be at risk. There are various security apps available right now that can track a lost or stolen device and even wipe out its data. The South Korean government however wants to increase the protection of mobile devices made in the country further by requiring manufacturers to place a kill switch on their models.
Last August 13 the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning introduced an act called the “Complete Preventive Measures against Illegal Use of Mobile Phone”. This requires all domestic smartphones manufactured in Korea from now until the second quarter of 2014 to come with a kill switch. This kill switch when activated renders a smartphone useless. The device will freeze and cannot be made operable even if it is formatted. This effectively makes any stolen smartphone unusable.
Samsung as well as LG will soon be manufacturing smartphones with the kill switch feature present.
Pantech, another South Korean manufacturer, has already introduced this feature since last February. The company is even planning on introducing a GPS function on the kill switch feature so owners can track their lost or stolen devices.
Smartphone theft is one of the fastest growing crimes today. This problem has even caught the attention of the mayor of London as well as the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Back in May Schneiderman even wrote Apple, Google, Samsung and Motorola regarding the measures that the companies have undertaken to protect their products from being stolen.
Hopefully the move by the South Korean government will also be applied to devices that will be sold in the international market. Once a thief learns that a smartphone will become a glorified paperweight once the kill switch is activated then it might reduce the incidence of mobile phone theft.