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Old 30th September 2008, 14:41   #1
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Thumbs up Mobile technology taught to turn on thieves

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - - Stolen mobile telephones are being taught to turn against thieves by sending home word of where they are and letting owners snoop on calls.

Maverick Mobile won accolades at a recent DEMO gathering of 72 startups in Southern California by debuting software that lets rightful owners track swiped mobile telephones and torment whoever has them.

"After losing two mobile devices, one in a London cab and another in a big Indian wedding, I went through a lot of heartburn and stress," Maverick founder Sujit Jain said while introducing Secure Mobile at DEMO.

"That gave birth to a product which will not just secure your device but the data as well in case of loss or theft."

Maverick Secure Mobile software installs in the hardware of mobile telephones, not in the changeable SIM cards that identify users to telecom service providers.

The application runs in an unseen "hidden mode" in mobile telephones, encrypting contact numbers and other data if crooks puts new SIM cards in the handsets.

The India-based firm's software also retrieves contact lists from devices and sends new SIM card telephone number and location data to mobile telephones designated by original owners.

The application also sends copies of any telephone numbers a thief has called and copies of text messages he or she may send.

"And its all sent using their data plan, so the best part is the thief pays for it," Jain said.

Owners of stolen devices are given the power to disable stolen mobile telephones or make them play blaring alarms that only stop when the batteries are out. Replacing a battery re-initiates the irritating sound.
Secure Mobile was given a "Demogod" award as one of the top launches at the Southern California event.

"Tied to the phone rather than the SIM, Maverick locates the phone, pulls contacts into the cloud and lets you pester the thief until he reconsiders a life of crime," DEMO producers wrote in a review posted online.

"Plenty of mobile security products will lock down a device that has been lost or stolen. Services will backup mobile data. Maverick Mobile does both and more, and frankly in a way that feeds our desire to revenge the loss of a phone."

Yougetitback.com on Monday launched a "Mobile SuperHero" service that lets people track the whereabouts of smart phones using built in GPS capabilities or by figuring out which cellular towers are handling calls.

The US company specializes in helping people recover smart phones, laptops, iPods, cameras and other prized mobile electronics.

"We believe that allowing people to track the precise location of their mobiles, should they be misplaced, lost or stolen, is added peace of mind for them," said Yougetitback.com chief executive Frank Hannigan.

"For example, a user in New York may be surprised to learn that his or her missing device has been transported to Texas or California somehow. The user can lock the phone remotely because Mobile SuperHero has tracked it."

Mobile Superhero is an Internet-based application that keeps tracking devices even if SIM cards are changed.

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Old 30th September 2008, 15:12   #2
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And what if the thief has a > Zero IQ and he flashes the firmware first?
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Old 30th September 2008, 15:29   #3
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Yes, that would be the only option to get away but since its hidden, the thief wouldnt know.

If this starts coming as a standard feature then they will definitely have a way to prevent reflashing by providing some security code etc.

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And what if the thief has a > Zero IQ and he flashes the firmware first?
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Old 30th September 2008, 17:38   #4
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If this starts coming as a standard feature then they will definitely have a way to prevent reflashing by providing some security code etc.
If the feature can be made, it can be broken. Besides, firmware flashes can be done with the phone turned off...

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Maverick Secure Mobile software installs in the hardware of mobile telephones, not in the changeable SIM cards that identify users to telecom service providers.

The application runs in an unseen "hidden mode" in mobile telephones, encrypting contact numbers and other data if crooks puts new SIM cards in the handsets.

The India-based firm's software also retrieves contact lists from devices and sends new SIM card telephone number and location data to mobile telephones designated by original owners.
Lame. This "amazing" protection can be defeated by not inserting a SIM card in the phone until the firmware has been flashed and the software removed. Apart from encrypting your contacts and data if the SIM card is changed, there's no use of such an application. Atleast no Indian phone company will help you find your handset even if you have details of which cell the phone is in currently.

And finally, such protection has been available for a long time now (one example is Symbian Toys - Software Guardian an advanced antitheft to protect your Symbian phone and it's free too!). Yahoo and AFP should catch up with times.
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Old 30th September 2008, 19:32   #5
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Whew !!

When I read "TURN ON THIEVES" - I was what is this new technology now !!
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