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Self-destruct button on your phone

About 49 percent said they had at least one old device they powered up simply to browse through the pictures and videos stored on it.

About 49 percent said they had at least one old device they powered up simply to browse through the pictures and videos stored on it.

Published Sep 13, 2013

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Johannesburg - Ever had to use your phone to do some internet banking? What about online shopping? Even your Facebook application has personal information that could be used against you if your phone or tablet goes missing.

But new anti-virus and security programs are now including self-destruct buttons that can wipe your phone, keep your personal information safe, and even help catch the sticky-fingered person who snatched your device.

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Kaspersky Internet Security for Android phones is one such application released this week, and while it has the usual virus protection, its other features are what can keep you from becoming a victim of cybercrime.

According to Kaspersky Lab, 35 000 different malware programs emerged in 2012, and these can allow hackers to steal personal data from your phone, automatically send text messages and even spread spam to your friends and contacts.

While the application combats these kind of threats by blocking potentially dangerous areas of the web, it also scans your text messages to help tell the difference between that cat photo your grandmother has sent you and a potentially phone-breaking phishing site.

The program also allows you to remotely block your lost or stolen devices, detect their location and delete all your personal information on it. The new “mugshot” feature can also secretly take a photo of the thief or the new owner’s face, which may help you find them.

Another feature, called “SIM Watch” blocks the phone if someone tries to change your SIM card. And for those of us who just can’t help losing their phone between the couch cushions, the alarm function that can be activated from your computer or tablet will set off a signal that indicates where it is.

Dmitry Aleshin, director of product management at Kaspersky Lab, said: “Whenever we develop a security solution, we start by thinking about exactly what the users need.

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“Obviously, tablet and smartphone users face a double risk – they may fall victim to both cybercriminals and ordinary thieves. That is why Kaspersky Internet Security for Android has added remote device management functions to its antivirus and anti-phishing technologies.”

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android can be downloaded from the Kaspersky Lab website or from Google Play. - The Star

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