Losing your smartphone can be as scary and stressful as losing your wallet, especially if you store passwords, financial data, and other sensitive material on you handset. Fortunately, Mobile Defense is a new Google Android application that aims to protect your personal information and privacy while helping you to recover a lost phone.
Mobile Defense works by installing a small tracking code on your device. Think of it as LoJack for your phone. The easy setup process only requires you to create an account to register your phone. After you install the app it will remain dormant until you activate it remotely. Since you control Mobile Defense through a Web site you can hide the program's icon on your phone.
Hopefully, most users will install Mobile Defense and never have to use it. In the event your phone is lost or stolen, just login to the Mobile Defense site from any computer. After connecting, the service should connect to your phone in under 30 seconds. Once connected, the location of your phone will appear on a Google map with Street View. Mobile Defense uses GPS, Wi-Fi, and cell towers to determine an accurate location.
When connected, users have the option to lock their phone and send an alert to it. You also can display a custom message with you contact information for anyone who finds the phone. Future upgrades to the service will also include the ability to back up your data and remotely wipe it.
I haven't lost my phone since installing Mobile Defense, but I've heard of several success stories. One user was riding the train after work and realized that he lost his phone when he got home. By logging onto the service, he was able to track his handset to another train station about 10 miles away. When he got there, he recovered his device from the lost and found box.
Another user had left his phone with the power off at a public pool. He contacted Mobile Defense, which sent an emergency command to his phone that would track and lock it on its next boot. After several weeks he received an alert that someone had started the phone with a new SIM card. Mobile Defense captured the thief's mobile phone number and their subscriber ID. What's more, the device was immediately locked, protecting the user's private data. From there, Mobile Defense began tracking the phone's location and eventually pinpointed the device to within 24 feet.
Given that Mobile Defense is a free service, I would suggest installing it on every Android phone. The app only runs when activated, so you're likely to forget it is even installed until you need it.