Stolen phones are a big problem here in the US. Many are stolen in robberies. Robberies are, by definition, violent crimes, and there are many instances of robberies of mobile phones that resulted in serious injury or even death.
TechNewsWorld reports “Ten years ago, mobile phone thefts accounted for about 8% of New York City’s overall robbery cases, but since then the number has climbed to 40%, according to Ray Kelly, commissioner of the New York City Police Department.”
Similar statistics like 38% of all robberies in Washington, D.C. and other big cities have prompted the Federal Communications Commission, wireless carriers, law enforcement across the country and a few outspoken politicians to work together and create the PROTECT Initiative.
A month ago a journalist asked me if the wireless carriers will ever agree to create a joint effort consortium to identify, catalog and dead end stolen mobile devices. I said never, no way, won’t happen, they make too much money off the contracts to turn down a stolen phone. But now that lawmakers have stepped in, the wireless industry will want to have a say before any laws are passed that tie their hands.
PROTECT is a good thing. It helps create awareness – people still don’t get that they need mobile security. In the coming months we will see more buzz from the wireless community about what systems are in place to protect you and what responsibilities you have as a consumer to protect yourself.
Meanwhile software like McAfee Mobile Security not only protects against viruses and malware but can help prevent a criminal from accessing your personal and private data if your phone is lost or stolen. You can remotely locate your phones, even if the GPS is turned off, lock the device, back up the data and if necessary, wipe everything from your phone. If your mobile phone was ripped from you right now, how vulnerable would you be?
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)