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Crime-fighting tech gets mobile

Photos: Kit to keep cyber fraudsters out of your phone
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nick-heath.jpg
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Topic: Security
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1 of 3 Nick Heath/ZDNet

Photos: Kit to keep cyber fraudsters out of your phone

With today's mobile phones doubling up as online banking and social networking portals, contact books and, increasingly, contactless credit cards they are becoming a treasure chest for fraudsters.

An increasing amount of fraud is being carried out using lost or stolen mobile phones, with mobile phone identity fraud rising by more than 70 per cent in 2009 year on year.

The Home Office is trying to counter this growing threat by supporting the development of technologies to stop mobile phone theft and identity fraud.

Today three products were revealed that were developed as part of the Mobile Phone Security Challenge, an initiative supported by the Home Office Design and Technology Alliance and the Design Council.

Home office minister, Alan Campbell, said he hoped the new technologies will cut mobile phone fraud as dramatically as Chip and PIN technology has reduced fraud on lost or stolen credit and debit cards, which currently stands at its lowest level since 1991.

The first product is the i-migo, seen here, a small device that will automatically sound an alarm and lock a mobile phone if the phone is stolen or left behind.

The device is set up by syncing it up with a mobile phone over a Bluetooth connection.

After this has been done the i-migo will sound an alarm and lock the phone, over the Bluetooth connection, once it is taken more than 10 metres from the phone.

The only way to unlock the phone will be to bring the i-migo and the phone back together.

The i-migo also automatically backs up data from the phone at regular intervals to its onboard storage.

Photo credit: Design Council

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2 of 3 Nick Heath/ZDNet

The Tie software electronically pairs a mobile phone handset with a SIM card, so that if another SIM is placed inside the handset it will be password locked.

The idea is to prevent criminals from using a new SIM card to access the phone handset memory and recover saved passwords, websites and contacts, all of which could be useful in defrauding the phone's owner.

Tie will also automatically encrypt all data stored on a mobile phone handset. The decryption key for the data can be remotely deleted, preventing anyone from accessing the data on the handset.

Photo credit: Design Council

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3 of 3 Nick Heath/ZDNet

Phones are beginning to have Near Field Communication technology built into them to allow them to be swiped over readers to automatically pay for goods or services, in the same way the Oyster card works on the London Underground.

The aim of TouchSafe, a prototype of which is seen here, is to prevent stolen NFC-enabled phones from being used to buy goods using the handset's built-in contactless payment technology.

TouchSafe is a small card that can be linked to an NFC-enabled mobile phone handset by touching it to the handset.

After this the mobile phone will require the TouchSafe card to be touched against the handset to authorise each contactless payment transaction.

Photo credit: Design Council

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