As smartphones have become increasingly integrated into our lives, they've begun to function as far more than just phones. Mobile wallets hold credit card data, social media apps contain our personal information and even healthcare apps may include details about our physical wellbeing.
With so much information about their owners hiding behind the lock screen – not to mention their inherent dollar value – smartphones have become a major target for theft. More than 2 million smartphones were stolen in 2014, according to a Consumer Reports survey.
Smartphone manufacturers have already taken steps to deter thieves from targeting their devices – namely adding a "kill switch" that allows theft victims to disable their phones remotely if stolen. However, a recently published patent from Apple shows the tech giant wants to go one step further. With the new technology, not only would a stolen iPhone be useless to a thief, but it would actually help law enforcement catch these criminals.
Here's how it would work:
All the sensors Apple would need to capture evidence incriminating phone thieves are already built into the iPhone. The camera could silently take photos of the thieves and their environment, the microphone could capture audio of their voices and ambient noise that could help law enforcement pinpoint their location. Plus, the Touch ID sensor could even scan the criminals' fingerprints. With all that stored information, prosecutors would have no problem proving thieves' culpability.
This process could be started remotely by the phone's rightful owner, or could even start automatically if the phone detected certain triggers that suggested it had been stolen.
The idea would be that while all of this technology could come in handy in the event of a theft, it hopefully would not be necessary for long. Once criminals realized stealing iPhones could help get them caught, they might be less likely to target them in the first place. Adding the "kill switch" already helped reduce smartphone thefts by about 1 million incidents between 2012 and 2013, suggesting this security feature could have an immediate effect on the crime as well.
The value of security in the enterprise
Because employees often use their personal devices to access company email accounts, databases and other digital access, smartphone security is critical for organizations of all sizes. Otherwise, unsecured smartphones can act as a "drain on revenue," CIO reported, by opening businesses up to a greater risk of costly data breaches or corporate identity theft.
With that in mind, organizations have a responsibility to select the most secure devices and train their staff on leveraging security features and best practices.
At MC Services, our certified IT consultants offer Apple training to help employees get the most out of their mobile devices. To learn more, contact us today.