Have you or your kids ever lost a mobile phone?
As a population of wireless phone owners, one of our biggest mobile security concerns is theft! In fact, stealing mobile phones has become such a lucrative business that researchers actually figured out where it happens most. They even went so far as to calculate what this epidemic is costing. Here’s a list, in order of the highest number of thefts first:
- Atlanta — $50 million
- Fort Worth, Texas — $48 million
- Philadelphia — $48 million
- Long Beach – $47 million
- Oakland – $45 million
- Los Angeles — $24 million
- Chicago — $40 million
- Houston — $39 million
- New York — $35 million
- Tampa – $33 million
Obviously, this doesn’t mean these are the only places where your phone can disappear, but are high-population areas where theft is the most common. The dollar figures are just replacement value of the phones, and don’t even include the costs of lost data, stolen financial information and ID theft. Is there a solution to this absurd problem? Amazingly, there just may be.
Making phone-stealing a wasted effort
CTIA-The Wireless Association, is a non-profit group that supports the wireless industry. In the past they’ve advocated for green wireless practices, educational and safety programs and government support for all things wireless. This week, along with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), a few major police chiefs and other members, the CTIA drafted some steps to make stealing phones a no-win situation for thieves. They’re proposing a large-scale database of phone ID data that would absolutely prevent a thief from activating a stolen phone. In other words, no one in the world could activate your phone besides you. How disappointing would it be to steal a phone and not be able to access the contents?
Where does NQ Mobile stand?
NQ Mobile actively supports the CTIA in this effort because, as always, it’s in our best interest to educate and protect our consumers. Our mobile security software can’t prevent a thief from filching your phone out of your purse or pocket, but it can help you locate it by setting off its alarm, protect it by locking it remotely, and if all else fails, wipe it clean with a remote command.
Our mobile antivirus protection will keep you safe from all kinds of malware and, even though we can’t promise your phone won’t get stolen, we can assure you of every other kind of mobile protection possible.
In a crazy world, it’s good to know there are people looking out for our best interests, like NQ Mobile and CTIA-The Wireless Association. Download NQ Mobile Security software for the best mobile protection on the market.
CTIA-The Wireless Association has announced a new plan designed to decrease the illegal activation of stolen smartphones and educate consumers about safer wireless practices.
In partnership with government officials, law enforcement officials and wireless companies, CTIA called for a voluntary commitment from industry leaders to address the issues caused by stolen smartphones. This is one of the most important issues the mobile industry faces today, as more and more people use their smartphones to email, text, shop, bank and more. While smartphones undoubtedly make our lives richer, more convenient and more fun, we’re creating countless opportunities for cybercrime if we fail to protect the devices we’re using.
When you consider all the data we store on our phones–including contacts, photos, account information and location-based data–it’s clear that now is the perfect time to set an industry standard for mobile security. With effective measures in place to protect stolen smartphones, these devices might soon be as valuable as an empty wallet. And if stolen phones are worthless, there will be no incentive to steal them.
Here’s a summary of what the CTIA plan aims to accomplish:
- Wireless operators will create databases of unique smartphone identifying numbers, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers, similar to what cars have, so that when a smartphone is reported stolen, it is identified and prevented from being activated on any compatible network.
- Handset makers will notify wireless customers of features to secure and lock their smartphones with passwords upon activation, as well as in their user guides.
- Wireless operators will send email or text messages to consumers about applications that lock, locate and erase data from smartphones, such as NQ Mobile Security.
- The wireless industry will launch an online educational campaign for consumers on how to prevent smartphone theft and safely use their devices.
As a major, global participant in the wireless industry, NQ Mobile is committed to educating and protecting the wireless consumer. We fully endorse CTIA’s position, and pledge to continue our own daily efforts to advocate for the wireless consumer’s safety, empowerment and education.
We’re hopeful that educating consumers about protecting their phones against loss or theft will help reduce the impact a lost or stolen phone can have. We recently created an infographic that outlines the importance of protecting phones against loss or theft. As illustrated in the graphic, the personal and financial cost of a lost or stolen phone is simply too high to ignore. For this reason, we’re constantly researching ways to make stealing data from phones an impossible crime. But for any of these ways to work, consumers need to take action to protect themselves (the infographic shows you how).
Today’s announcement by CTIA represents an important step in the wireless industry’s awareness of and accountability for the wireless consumer’s safety and security. We vigorously support CTIA’s plan, and welcome an industry-wide involvement in this effort. We believe that if the industry as a whole commits to embracing the plan, we can make the wireless world a safer place for consumers. Please visit our blog regularly to stay current on the latest mobile security news, trends and safety tips.