The new security feature, announced Thursday, will let owners remotely shut down and erase the contents of their handsets in the event of theft.
The system, which will make its debut on the flagship LG 3G handset, is based on McAfee’s Mobile Security app, and will also help smartphone owners track their devices if they go missing, securely back up content, scan apps for malware and viruses and offer an extra layer of protection against attempted hacks too.
“We are working with McAfee to offer a customized version of its award-winning mobile security software that leverages built-in LG capabilities to make security an integral part of LG G3,” said Dr. Ramchan Woo, head of smartphone planning division of LG. “The implementation of the Kill Switch feature is just one of several specific measures we are taking to ensure that our users can easily and comprehensively protect themselves from the growing threat landscape, both physical and online.”
The need for smartphones sold in the US to come with a killswitch as standard is a topic of hot debate at the moment, and that’s not surprising.
According to research by Creighton University, Americans spend about $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and the Android operating system is fast developing a reputation as a magnet for malware. Therefore it’s heartening to see a phone company taking the initiative rather than waiting for a bill to be passed or for a law to be amended.
Better still, the new feature is not confined to the US or simply to the LG 3G, the company’s flagship phone.
Thanks to a multi-year partnership agreement, owners of other LG smartphones can also download the app from Google Play free of charge and the app’s features will remain free to use for the first five years.
“We are working with LG to build and implement unique security measures that empower users to live a safer, worry-free digital life,” said John Giamatteo, senior vice president and general manager, McAfee consumer business. “Partnering with global mobile leaders such as LG is one of the many ways that we’re working tirelessly to deliver innovative solutions that enable safer mobile computing for consumers.”