While cellphones may be one of the most simple targets for criminals to steal, they can still be a useful tool in protecting yourself and your family.

And even if it goes missing, its becoming more common for smartphones to allow you to remotely retrieve your data, find its GPS position and even send a damning message to the criminal by deleting everything on your SIM card.

ADT Security recently implemented a new cellphone panic button, that with the press of a button can contact police and the security company itself if you find yourself under attack. The concept is built around speed. When you press a predetermined speed dial number, ADT automatically dispatches an armed response vehicle to your property.

“Our cellphones are seldom out of reach at home or, at least, we always know where they are – often more so than our remote panic buttons. The launch of ADT Cell Panic means you can instantly dispatch help to your property via your cellphone,” said Roy Rawlins, managing director of ADT Central Region.

While panic buttons do exist, the loss of a cellphone can also be a frightening experience, as many smartphones are used to store important business information and confidential emails. But MTN and BlackBerry have both introduced programs that allow you to monitor your phone from another smartphone or computer. When you access BlackBerry Protect, a free program for all BlackBerry phones, you can not only have the data on your MicroSD card sent over the internet to your PC, but also erase it.

If the phone is used by someone other than you, a GPS position of the phone can also be sent straight to you, which can make finding the criminal a breeze for the police. MTN’s recently released security system also appears to be modelled on BlackBerry Protect, and gives the same functionality.

MTN also offer the 2MyAid service for all cellphones, which sends a distress SMS to four emergency contacts alerting them that you are in an emergency situation or in distress. The SMS will explain that you need help and contain information about your location, meaning quick and easy alert to your family or friends.

And if you constantly lose your phone, BlackBerry Protect can help. If your phone has slid down the side of the couch for the millionth time, even if the phone is on silent, you can use your computer to turn the volume up and locate it. - The Star