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UMU StopThief locks or wipes your stolen phone with a single text

StopThief is software for Symbian and Windows CE devices that lets you lock or wipe a lost handset with a text message -- handy for cabinet ministers

It starts with that horrible sinking feeling: you've left your phone on the train. Then you realise that your company's evil plans were on that phone and you're about to be fed to the sharks with frickin' lasers strapped to their heads.

A frenzied call to your network will lock the phone for making calls and sending texts, but all of your text messsages and files will stay on the mobile's memory, ripe for the plundering.

Software house UMU has had a bright idea. StopThief is an app for your Nokia Series 60 or Windows CE device that lets you lock or wipe that handset as quickly as sending a text message.

We tried StopThief on our Nokia E51, which contains the Crave plans for world domination. It was as easy to install as you can get on Symbian, and once it was up and running we had no trouble locking and wiping the handset at the speed of text.

Locking was quick to undo by entering our password, but wiping is permanent, so not to be messed with. When the handset was locked, we couldn't run any program, but we could still look at the home screen, so any info displayed there, such as the subject lines of emails in the inbox, was still visible.

Wiping deleted text messages, photos, video and contacts -- the only thing it misses out are calendar entries, so the details of our meetings with fellow conspirators were still in the hands of our enemies.

BlackBerriers using BlackBerry Enterprise Server have had this ability for a while, and it's a very handy feature if your phone holds anything more valuable than embarrassing snapshots and smoochy texts. UMU claims that a mobile phone is stolen every 12 seconds in the UK and over 50,000 phones are left in the back of London taxis in an average year.

StopThief is available from the UMU Web site for £9.95.