Amidst mounting pressure to do more in the fight against against smartphone theft and other mobile security threats, Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co. are purportedly considering the installation of a so-called “kill switch” on their mobile devices, including smartphones as well as tablets.
The mechanism in question would render stolen devices inoperable and safe from criminals looking to pilfer potentially sensitive user information stored on said devices.
The function is designed to discourage phone theft by enabling a manufacturer and carrier to lock the smartphone or tablet even if a SIM card is replaced or the firmware is hacked.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the most recent data from the National Policy Agency indicates that the number of reported smartphone thefts climbed a staggering 457% to 31,075 in 2012 (up from from 5,575 in 2009).
Coinciding with these findings, The Korea Customs Service also allegedly blocked attempts to smuggle 1,887 smartphones out of the country last year. In comparison, in 2010, only 131 phones were prevented from being smuggled.
“Consumers should remain cautious and take phone safety measures by themselves, noting that it is ultimately their responsibility to protect their phone,” Lee Dong-hyung, chief of the Telecommunications Policy Bureau at the ministry, tells the WSJ.