Google has extended the capabilities of its Android Device Manager tool, launching a new app for Android that allows users to remotely secure their other Android devices without the need for a desktop browser.
The Android tool features the same functionality as the desktop app, launched in August. This includes geolocation, which will use the missing device's GPS service as well as its WiFi and cellular radio in order to place the device within as small a radius as possible.
For locating units that are lost in a known area, such as in the same building, the app allows users to play their phone's default ringtone at full volume for five minutes. This can be triggered by another Android device with the app installed, such as a tablet. As a short-term security solution, users can also set a password for the device remotely, which must be entered in addition to any other security measures already in place on the device.
Otherwise the tool can remotely wipe all data from the missing unit, thereby securing any personal data that may have been on it. All the features of Android Device Manager require the missing device to be connected to the internet via a WiFi or mobile data connection, and must also be switched on.
Such measures are becoming increasingly important for businesses and public sector bodies handling sensitive data, with the Information Commissioner's Office dishing out most of its fines for simple mishandling and loss of technology holding sensitive data. Since it was set up in 2011, the ICO has levied more than £4m in fines to public sector bodies alone.
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