Google is beefing up its mobile platform’s security with an update to Android Device Manager that adds the option of remotely locking down a lost or stolen device with a new password. The new feature complements the other two that debuted with the security tool last month -- location tracking and remote wipe -- and is available on any Android device running version 2.2 of the operating system and above.
The setup process is pretty straight forward. Users simply need to go to the Settings panel on their Android device and make sure the ‘Lock and Erase’ and ‘Remote Factory Reset’ options are enabled. If the time ever comes that the device goes missing, users can head to the Android Device Manager website to either ring, lock, or erase it. A lock request will prompt you for a new password and immediately secure any device connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network with that, regardless if you had a PIN, pattern, or password on it before.
Though it’ll come in handy for misplaced devices, if a savvy thief has deliberately turned off the phone or its wireless radios to thwart a response from the owner, you won’t be able lock or wipe it clean.
To be fair, this a limitation that both its iOS and Windows Phone counterparts share, though Apple worked around this problem in iOS 7 with a new Activation Lock feature that will make it impossible (or at least much more difficult) to reactivate a lost or stolen device without your Apple ID and password.
It’s also worth noting that while Google is playing catch up with Android Device Manager, and quite late for that matter, third party tools such as Lookout Security already offered this type of functionality on Android devices.
Image source: GottaBeMobile