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Anti-Theft Measures


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A lot of other security suites available for iOS include a variety of Anti-Theft measures, such as locating your device with GPS (including sending a signal flare right before the device runs out of battery), and providing a Thief Cam.

I think having a Thief Cam would be really helpful, because not only would it show you who tried to get into your phone and kept getting the password wrong, but if it were to automatically upload the photos at the first opportunity, then it could also tie into facial recognition in some form.

I also have a few ideas to expand on the Thief Cam concept;

  1. GPS/Bluetooth Signal Flare during photo burst(s).
  2. Recording a Delta-compressed photo burst, instead of just a single photograph, in case the perpetrator looks away... with a second photoburst on a short delay, triggered to fire as soon as the camera detects a face. A smart crook would likely try to look away during the first photo burst, but they probably wouldn't expect a second one.
  3. Taking a photo burst from the phone's rear camera, in order to get a good look at the phone's surroundings. Could also include camera flash, partly to disorient the perp.
  4. Ambient sound recording, to help identify the location based on ambient sound and/or identify the perpetrator by voice.
  5. Audible alarm, to draw attention.
  6. Perpetrator Fingerprint Capture.

Thoughts? 🦊

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I don't personally use smart phones, however I'd be wary of such extensive anti-theft features because if compromised by anyone else, they could be used to monitor/track/identify the owner as well, which would not be a good thing.  I wouldn't want any mechanism in my phone that could suddenly activate the camera, mic, fingerprint reader and GPS to suddenly start spying on me/tracking me, even if its purpose is theoretically to benefit the security of my device.

Some things are more important than a $500 smart phone, at least to me.

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  • Staff

Generally speaking, Apple provides very excellent anti-theft functionality out of the box. Although some of these ideas are theoretically interesting, they're not going to be possible on iOS. For example, fingerprint capture can't happen, because no app actually has access to the data read by the fingerprint sensor.

My general feeling on anti-theft software for iOS that I've seen to-date is that it's tricking the user into buying because the user doesn't fully understand what anti-theft capabilities they have built into their iOS devices. As such, I have a fairly low opinion of it, and wouldn't want to enter that arena without a very compelling reason.

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