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iOS 8 brings kill switch to iPhone to deter thieves

21 September 2014, 7:33 am EDT By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
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The iOS 8 will feature the kill switch feature as a default option, which will allow users to remotely lock and erase all the data in their devices if stolen.  ( Apple )

The release of the iOS 8 might not mean much in terms of aesthetics, but the newest version of Apple's operating system for mobile devices upgrades a lot of features under the hood.

One of the aspects of mobile devices that iOS 8 is looking to upgrade is security, with the inclusion of a kill switch that will deter thieves from stealing Apple devices.

The kill switch is a theft deterrant system that allows the rightful owners of mobile devices to remotely lock their gadgets and to erase all data contained within them in case the device is stolen.

Apple's decision to turn on the kill switch in the iOS 8 by default can be seen as a major accomplishment for regulators that have long been pushing for major players of the telecommunications industry to create and implement more measures to address theft.

The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that the kill switch will be standard on all iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, as they already come with the iOS 8 installed. Users that upgrade their older Apple devices to iOS 8 will also acquire the feature.

Schneiderman has been a staunch advocate of the kill switch, attempting to convince companies to include the feature as a standard component of mobile devices.

"This is a game changer," said District Attorney George Gascón, who has been a partner of Schneiderman for the cause.

"This is a major development that will change behavior on the street and eventually turn around this violent epidemic."

The iOS 8 will be the first time that the kill switch feature will be a default option for the Apple smartphone.

Back in April, Apple and nine other companies signed an agreement to include the kill switch as a feature on upcoming mobile devices.

According to the office of Schneiderman, 1.6 million Americans had their smartphones stolen in 2012. Schneiderman and Gascón are hoping that with the inclusion of the kill switch, the reported cases of stolen smartphones will become lower, as locked iPhones can't be sold for profit. 

The kill switch will also prevent thieves from extracting any sensitive information from stolen devices, such as credit card and debit card information, confidential communications, and multimedia content.

"Apple products are the most commonly targeted smartphones, so deploying this technology on a default basis will safeguard almost all iPhone users in the years ahead," Gascon said

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