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Qualcomm kicks phone thieves in balls with awesome SafeSwitch security

Qualcomm SafeSwitch is an extra layer of security that’s actually built into the new Snapdragon hardware, which can’t be hacked into with traditional methods used by evil phone thieves. We go hands-on with the smart new killswitch.

The moment you reach into your pocket and find that your phone’s missing is a real heart-wrencher, and right then a million horrible thoughts crash through your head. Oh god, will they be able to hack my PIN? Can they somehow see those snaps I took with the goldfish and the nipple clamps?

Well, our security options thus far – PIN numbers and so on – are all software-based measures which unfortunately can be hacked through if the wily thief has the right tools and know-how. Which is where Qualcomm’s SafeSwitch solution has a serious advantage. SafeSwitch’s protection is actually built into the Snapdragon 810 chipset itself, so it’s not just a simple layer of software which can be penetrated by a skilled ne’er-do-well. And if they try and wipe the phone, the killswitch will still be active.

As soon as you realise that your Snapdragon phone is missing, you’ll need to remotely lock the device using your PC. With that done, the git what stole your mobile can’t do anything at all with the handset, even if they try to hack in with their own computer. The phone will simply refuse to boot up, rendering the thing useless.

And if you happen to recover the phone, the good news is that it won’t be permanently crippled. You can simply enter your private PIN and get it up and working again, just as before.

Qualcomm showed off SafeSwitch at a recent Snapdragon event, demonstrating with the use of some clever tech that a locked Snapdragon 810 device wouldn’t even begin to boot into the OS without entry of a code, even when prodded with hacking tools.

Smartphone theft has apparently plummeted in London thanks to anti-theft measures, as people finally start securing their handsets. All-new hardware-based solutions like SafeSwitch will hopefully further deter criminals, providing the public is made aware of them, and should prove a solid companion to software measures. Of course, our favourite methods are still those which involve taking subterfuge snaps of the thieving bastards as they fondle your precious handset.


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