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Android can now detect when your phone is stolen

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Android can now detect when your phone is stolen

Android’s new theft detection lock uses Google’s artificial intelligence to determine when your phone has been snatched from your hand. If it detects this, your phone screen will lock automatically. Using smartphone sensors such as the accelerometer and gyroscope, Google trained its algorithms to detect sudden changes in the phone’s position and movements that could indicate that it has been snatched.

“You pick up the phone, it changes hands, and then an attacker runs, rides a bike, or even walks away with a device,” Guo says. To train the algorithm, Google research staff studied how phones are commonly stolen and then their teams recreated theft events with each other to collect data on what a simulated theft looks like.

Thieves who steal phones, Guo says, often open the camera app when they don’t know the phone’s PIN, to prevent them from losing access to the device. They also often try to disconnect you from mobile networks for a long period of time so that they cannot be blocked from accessing the device remotely. The company’s new offline device lock will lock the screen when the phone is offline for an extended period, if the setting is activated.

To increase protection before a phone is stolen, Google says in a blog post, the company is adding four data protection features that can help keep your information locked down. The first prevents your phone from being set up after a factory reset, unless the person knows your login details. “This makes a stolen device unsellable, reducing incentives for phone theft,” writes Google Vice President Suzanne Frey.

There is also a new “private spaces” option where you can store sensitive apps, such as banking apps, that require a second PIN or the use of biometric data, such as a fingerprint, to access. Additional authentication checks are also being implemented: if a thief tries to deactivate the Google account Find my device location tracking service, they will also need to use your PIN, password or biometric information to unlock it. If a thief knows your PIN, it will also be possible to activate the need for biometric authentication to make important changes to the Google account and device settings, such as changing the PIN or deactivating anti-theft settings.

The additional authentication features are similar to those introduced by Apple in its Stolen Device Protection system that debuted in iOS 17.3 earlier this year, although Google’s motion theft detection goes beyond these tools. The goal of all anti-theft options is to lock down information stored on phones, but also to make it difficult for criminals to abuse the devices when they have them. Making it harder for criminals to resell phones or transfer money can help deter theft.

If your phone is stolen, Android already allows it phones to lock and erase. However, Guo says, the experience of having a phone taken from your hands is a “traumatic” experience, and afterward, people may not remember all their Google Account login details to log out. on the phone. To solve this problem, Google’s new remote lock feature will allow people to lock their phone using just a phone number. “The contents of the device are protected and it gives the user a lot of time… to be organized and carry out further repairs,” Guo says.

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