Local Tech Stories: Are Your Devices Secured?

If you currently own or use a gadget, you definitely need to read this. I have decided to write this in order to raise security awareness of mobile devices mostly used today. Statistics have it that, young people of today carry with them at least 2 to 3 mobile devices which include mobile phones, mobile notebooks, laptops, mobile music devices. However, how many people are literate about how to properly secure the device they carry? I think the question should be…how many people are aware of the security features available on their mobile equipment? I am going to share a personal story with you. This happened just on 18 April, 2012.

True Life Story:

A friend of mine called me about 4 weeks ago to inform me of his stolen iPad. His iPad was stolen from his car and you can imagine the frustration. He actually kept the iPad in the gloves compartment of his car while attending a wedding ceremony in Alausa, Ikeja. So, someone must have broken into his car to steal the iPad.

The good news is that he had activated the “Find My IPAD” application on his iPad before it was stolen. That makes it interesting. I was curious to find out where the iPad is. So, I logged in to his iCloud account and used the “Find iPhone” to locate his iPad’s location. We couldn’t find the location of the iPad. So, we sent a “Lock IPAD” request to the iPad and waiting patiently to receive useful information on how to locate the missing iPad.

And the good news came yesterday. Yes, it was the news we had been waiting for. My friend received an email from Apple saying his  device has been locked. Why is this good news? Read on :). I logged quickly to my friend’s iCloud’s account again and searched for the iPad. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The iPad was located in a street in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, called Kofo Abayomi Road. See the picture below.

What’s next?

This  makes us more curious and we want to know more about the actual location of the device. Did this new owner steal the device or buy it from the person that stole it? The hunt for the thief started in earnest. We sent several messages to the device to inform the person carrying it, or should I say the new owner, to reach us on a mobile number as the device is being tracked and has been flagged as a stolen iPad. We eventually spoke with the new owner and he has agreed to return it as he didn’t know he bought a stolen iPad.

Call to Action

I have shared this personal story to bring to your notice, that with the cost of the devices we use on the rise, you can always secure your device and render it useless in the case of theft.

How do you achieve this?

  • The mobile phone:

Not many people have the IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity] of their phone stored in a secure place. So, why not puase and find out what the IMEI number of your device is. Store this in a secure place. With this number, you can render your mobile phone useless if or when stolen. All you need to do is, report to your mobile operator the theft of the mobile phone and with an equipment called the EIR (Equipment Identity Register), the mobile phone can be tracked and blacklisted as stolen. Any voice call or sms would be blocked to and from the device. This would be blacklisted to all network in that country. If the mobile operator equally shares his data with the GSMA, the mobile phone would be blacklisted in as many countries that share information with the GSMA using the EIR. Other security measures includes enabling passwords to unlock your phone, install 3-party security application to secure you phones etc.

  • The IPAD:

Make sure your device is registered with Apple and you have a registered Apple ID.  Then make sure you switch “on” the “Find My iPad” application. You can do this in settings >>>> iClould >>>> find my iPad >>>> on/off. Just ensure that it is turned to “on”. The story above can help in finding the iPad when stolen and the device is active on the internet. One good thing Apple Inc has done is to make sure that once a devices is registered, the owners details can not be changed except by the owner.

  • The iPod/Mp3 devices;

Explore all security option on the device which uses passwordMake sure your device is always locked at all them with this password. In the event of theft, i don’t know how this can be traced or retrieved. But you sure to be assured your personal details or information stored on the device is secured as it wont be useful to the thief.

  • Laptops;

Your laptops must always be secured with password. Follow strictly password rules by using combination of alphabets, numbers and special characters. Another security tip is to always add password to your BIOS and make your first boot option your hard drive. In the event of theft, the laptop would not be useful even if it can’t be accessed from the operating system level (Windows or Linux) as well as the BIOS incase the thief wants to re-install another operating system. You can go a step further by securing the hard disk as well. At this point you know your data is secured as the hard disk would be useless to the thief. The laptop also would be except the BIOS is flushed.

As a security rule, always make sure you know what security is available on your device and always know how to arm yourself with it. If you have any device you interested in knowing more about, please drop a comment and I would respond.


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