Have you ever lost a phone or worse of, had it stolen? Well, if you haven’t, you are one lucky person. Many who have either lost or had their phones stolen can attest to how damaging this can be to someone, especially if the device carries an entire library of their personal data.
It gets even tougher for the victim if the device in question here is of huge monetary value. The cost of some of these phones, for instance, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or iPhone 6S Plus, can be overwhelming to some and even if you can afford the having one of these devices, you will still feel a pinch upon losing it. The good side of the story is that both developers of Android and iOS are aware that some evil minds exist out there, plotting on how to steal your prestigious device. These platforms come with some form of mechanisms that help users locate their lost devices, retrieve it or if worse, wipe everything on the same device so that the next person to use the device finds nothing related to them.
While this is a very interesting way of keeping users’ personal data safe in cases of lost devices, it seems Google is not yet satisfied with the current state of smartphone security. As a result, the company is reportedly working on a new feature that is meant to enhance smartphone security in a move that will make the devices less enticing for thieves to steal.
According to a report put forward by Android Police, the search engine giant will probably be updating Android N with this new feature. In the reports, it is claimed that the company is exploring a way of permanently bricking stolen or lost smartphones. This means that the phone will be rendered unusable once the owner declares it lost or stolen. This will also promise the victim that their date never got to third party eyes in the event of losing the device.
As noted earlier, the current OS allows users to remotely wipe their phones in the event of losing them, thus somehow giving the next users of the devices a hard time using them. But this has not gone down so well with the company as it seems smart heads out there are finding a way around this security measure. To ensure that these workarounds don’t work, Google’s new feature will not just remotely wipe the lost or stolen phone, but it will also brick it. As a result, the stolen phone will not be able to reboot.
Dubbed the Nuclear Brick, once triggered, the feature will wipe the device securely and remotely, including all Android partitions. This means that when this process is complete, the device will not have the likes of boot, bootloader, and recover, rendering the recovery of the phone basically impossible.
There are some reports that Android OEM partners will be asked to provide the partitions to be included in the brick command. It is also noted that users will be able to recover their devices with no need of special hardware, meaning that a software might be needed. But which software would be able to do this? As it seems, only time can tell.
As noted, the feature may or may not be included in Android N. Who knows, Google might decide to include the feature in its security updates with respect to the Android Device Manager.