New LoJack solution for Galaxy S4 makes theft meaningless

New LoJack solution for Galaxy S4 makes theft meaningless

Summary: Current smartphone remote-wipe solutions protect your data, but a factory reset still works on the black market. LoJack has a solution that can't be removed, rendering the device useless for thieves.


Smartphone theft is out of control, especially when such theft leads to murder. The Huffington Post has reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested representatives from Google, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft attend a summit next week to discuss the problem.

LoJack's persistent technology for Galaxy S4 makes theft meaningless

The upcoming LoJack solution for Android devices is the kind of solution that Schneiderman is asking for, and I hope to see this in cell phones other than the Galaxy S4 in the near future.

There are a number of software solutions that let you wipe or track your iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. But after a hard reset or wipe, a thief can take your phone to be sold or used. Something more effective is needed to stop this crime that affected about 1.6 million Americans last year.

Unlike a software solution only, the Absolute Software LoJack system is both a hardware and software solution. Starting with the Samsung Galaxy S4, Absolute's persistence technology is built into the firmware of the S4 and cannot be removed, even if the device is restored to factory settings.

The Galaxy S4 has the technology built in now, but the necessary Absolute software solution is not yet available. When it is available, you will be able to remotely lock your device, locate it, erase the data from the device and storage card, or have the Absolute Investigation and Recovery Services Team attempt to recover it.

The Recovery Team is made up of experts from law enforcement, the FBI, the Marines, the US Army, and other government positions. To date, they have recovered 28,000+ devices (laptops and PCs) in over 95 countries.

The service starts at just $29.99 for a one- or four-year subscription. If you live in an area where smartphone crime is rampant, then you may want to consider a S4 and this LoJack service.

As LoJack continues to support more devices, or manufacturers step up to the plate, let's hope smartphone crime becomes a thing of the past.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Security, Smartphones

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  • I really question the value

    There exists software to track down and locate these phones. If the phone is password protected then the thief can reset the phone but the data will be gone (except the SD card). I would rather have overall insurance than pay 30.00 per year for something that I could already do myself.
    • But you can't do it yourself ...

      Under your scenario, you still lose your phone, and the hundreds it costs to buy another one. For $30/yr, you get a service that will get your phone back for you, because it CAN'T be wiped ...
    • there are better ones

      I think cerberus stays persistent even after a factory reset of your phone.
  • Good step taken

    Good step taken.

    My phone was stolen last year and after hard reset I was not able to find it even some apps were installed.

    I lost it and thief may have sold it for less. it was almost new.

    I hope they find solution for this problem
  • How will this help?

    Thief is not going to know until AFTER the device is stolen that it has a stumbling block .
    • This will be a problem for only the first year or so ...

      ... Then, everyone will know that cell phones can no longer be wiped, will be tracked down and recovered ... so by simple attrition, cell phone thefts will dramatically reduce, being left only for those who wish to destroy other property ...

    • What's your life like?

      In other words, are your mental abilities so pathetic that you can't figure out the long term implications of this?
      • You seem upset.

        I hope things improve some.
  • Let's do the math shall we...

    OK assuming that 100% of the 27 million cell phones sold in the US per year had this lo jack and assuming it was 100% successful in preventing theft (this assumes thieves are smart enough to know not to steal these). The total costs for this "insurance" would be $783 million per year. Now assuming it stopped the entire 1.6 million phones from being stolen the "cost per cell phone loss prevented" would be $489. Not a good deal IMHO.
    • Lol ... you're looking at it wrong ...

      You're thinking about this on a mass scale ... it's not about the masses, it's about paying $30 for a service, instead of $500 for a replacement phone ... the savings of $470 sure seems worth it to me ...

      • Nope I got it well enough

        I am paying $30/yr for "theft insurance". This is not "crime prevention". Whoops and my math was WAY off, I just read the Epoch Times article. Make that 175 million cell phones sold last year in the US. So make that cost $5 billion at a cost per theft "prevented" of $3171!! Holly cow! What pays better than crime? Insuring against crime!!
        • Monarch Butterflies

          taste awful to birds (a little bird told me), but the bird that eats a Monarch does not get "punished" until after the butterfly is dead. BUT birds learn not to eat ANOTHER Monarch, so the rest of the flock (herd? school? exaltation?) is less likely to be eaten. And the Viceroy butterfly looks enough like the Monarch to get the same protection, even though its body does not have to expend resources making the toxin that protects the Monarch.

          The connection is that once thieves learn that smartphone theft (except of the old, undesirable models) is not likely to pay, they look for something else to steal, like Google Glasses perhaps. And then someone will come out with a case that makes an older phone LOOK like an S4 or something newer (send your royalties to the Viceroy butterflies)!
          • Nice metaphor

            for the vain and brightly coloured things that flap and preen in the reflective glass of their smartphones. ;)

            Real butterflies 'Lek', or simply swarm as it is more commonly called. I'm not sure I should repeat some of the names entomologists use for the social butterfly, here, on a public forum...

        • I'm not sure WTF you're talking about.

          It's pretty simple. Theft insurance costs $120 over the course of a 2 year contract. Theft prevention costs $60 over the course of a 2 year contract and provide the same service plus benefits.
        • yup

          Now turn your attention to medical insurance which is more intense because its your life vs. your gadget so you are more likely to pay that $1000/month cobra payment especially if you have had a life or death illness.
      • It's not about phone, but about your health too

        We are talking that phone overall theft will be discouraged. That means there will be less chances that some bad guy will hit someones head with the rock to take fancy phone away - less hospital bills, better health, no psychological damage.
        Tomas M.
    • That's how insurance works.

      If the customer population didn't spend more than the total long term loss, then insurance companies would go broke.
      • Read my addendum above

        This is why most homeowners insurances don't cover minor losses of a few hundred bucks. Because your rates would go through the roof for all the piddly claims the companies would have to cover. The companies know they will make money, a lot of money, off your insuring things.
  • I similarly question its utility.

    I look at it this way:

    Any reasonably successful smartphone thief will know that the first step is to immediately pull the battery, and that the second step is to pop the SD and SIM cards if the data is deemed to be of value. This way, you can send the remote kill signal all you want, it won't make a difference. From there, it's a matter of rooting the phone somewhere that doesn't have cell service, like a basement. Once all desired data is extracted, you wipe and reload the firmware.
    I can hear you now, "but this system is hardware based, and even if it's wiped and reloaded, it'll receive the kill command based on the IMEI/ESN serial numbers and brick it anyway!" Now I'll fully admit that if this is how the system works, then it's pretty effective. Think about it though - would you really WANT a phone that can be bricked at any point and whose remote kill switch can't be overridden? Most would consider my tin foil hat a bit too tight, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it's a little TOO easy for this to be exploited by a crazy ex or disgruntled employee.

  • this article is inconsistent

    "It's first available in the galaxy s4"
    "It has already helped rescue xxx devices"

    Which is true?

    Also, this is the second announced "security system" that is "built in the galaxy s4", but "can not yet be used".
    So, what other "gems" the galaxy s4 have?
    What if these systems never become operational? What if nobody has tested them, ever? Especially as "the required software is no yet available".

    So much promises... Any and only for more people to buy this smartphone... Ate Samsung that desperate?