Is your ‘smart phone’ smart enough? If not, how would you make it smarter? With the Met reporting over 300 mobile phones are stolen every day in London, perhaps a smart phone too smart to be stolen would be a good idea. Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University have come a step closer to this. They have developed software that can tell who is using the phone. Or, more specifically, is it you using your phone, or could it have been stolen? By understanding the unique way you use your phone, the software causes the phone to lock if it detects unusual activity. If you are the legitimate user of the phone you can confirm your identify with a password which unlocks your phone.

The software starts in ‘training mode’ – here it learns you and your phone’s routine. This includes which apps you use, which WiFi networks you login to and which signal towers you are near. It can even detect noise and light levels to record the environment you are in.

Once it has sufficient data to recognise you as the user it changes to ‘deployment mode’. If significant changes from what it considers ‘the norm’ for you are detected, it will lock the phone and require a password to unlock it.

This might seem unnecessary to the more security conscious among us whose phones’ already require PINs to unlock them. However, studies have shown that an increasing number of us are disabling this feature, finding it more of a nuisance to constantly unlock our phones. This software is smart enough to second guess the situation and determine whether a password or PIN is required.

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