Mobile Security: Why You May Need To Track Your Own Phone

Mobile phone security software. I’ve got it. Hopefully you’ve got it. Alas, my son did not.

A couple of weeks ago my son was making the short walk home from the bus stop after visiting a friend of his. A couple of lads his age walked past and snatched his Blackberry out of his hand, saying they need to “borrow it” to make a quick call. Foolishly, perhaps, he followed them for a while, expecting them to duly return his handset to him. Which of course they didn’t. After leading him into a train station the thieves met up with five of their friends and tried to coax my son into getting onto a train with them, with the promise of having his phone back when they got off at the next stop. Fortunately, my boy is far too bright and decided to cut his losses at this point.

After running home and getting over the initial upset and anger phase we called the police. All credit to them for coming round within a matter of minutes. The good news here is that my son remembered exactly what time he walked into the train station and there is plenty of CCTV there. A few days later we received a call from the police and he had to go and take a look at several photos on a laptop. He picked out one of the kids pictures that he saw, knowing with 100% certainty that he was the individual who took his phone.

Obviously as it is a police matter we don’t know everything that is going on but I’m fairly certain that they guy has now been arrested.

Mobile Security: Why You May Need To Track Your Own Phone

But what of the phone?

Luckily my son kept the box so we were able to give the police all the relevant information such as the phone number and IMEI number. But thats where the story ends. As the police said, the phone was most likely taken to order and was sold before it was ever taken. Not only that but the IMEI number would almost certainly have been hacked and changed – a criminal offence here in the UK but, hey, these guys are thieves anyway. So thats that. All my son is left with as his birthday present from me this year is the box you see above.  And, thanks to my employer, he won’t be getting another one.

So what could we have done differently?

Well, there are plenty of programs out there that can be used for secretly tracking Blackberry phones. You’ll have to Google them yourself though as I no longer have a Blackberry in this house to test them with 🙁

If you own an Android phone then there are more options available, from apps to mobile security programs such as the one from F-Secure that I use. There are also other services, such as the recently much publicised Prey which can do the job too, both for Android and iPhone.

Just remember, mobile phone theft is a growing crime with a couple of hundred being stolen ever day in the UK alone. If you have tracking software on your handset and contact the police quickly you may be more fortunate than my son and actually see your handset again.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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