Mobile Phone Theft: An unsolvable problem?

Last night I gave a talk as part of Oxford University’s Information Security and Privacy Programme. I decided to talk about the problem of mobile phone theft as it is something I have been involved in tackling for a number of years, mainly on the handset security side. I still work with the UK Police now on some of these issues. It really is an increasing issue that doesn’t look to have an obvious solution. Future technologies will provide another incentive to steal a device so it is clear that further effort must be put into addressing theft. There are many different reasons why someone would want to steal a phone and what they subsequently will do with it. On the industry side, network operator customer service management is difficult, particularly when people are lying to you. Getting all network operators in the world to share accurate information to the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) is a tough call, even if they were interested in doing it in the first place.

I got some great feedback on twitter when I said I was going to give this talk. Two in particular stood out –  @realbelahzur wrote this blog and focused on one particular aspect – the theft of service, how far a network operator has to go and the responsibility a user must also take in keeping their own property safe. @paul_clarke pointed me at his blog about his experience of blocking and unblocking a phone.

The slides and notes from the presentation are re-posted here. Please feel free to tweet me and leave comments on your theft experiences and ideas for helping to deal with / manage the problem.

Mobile Phone Theft: An unsolvable problem?

View more presentations from David Rogers.

3 thoughts on “Mobile Phone Theft: An unsolvable problem?

  1. Mobile Phone December 29, 2011 / 7:06 am

    I have loss my phone and complain but i am not getting any feedback regarding my phone form company side or network operator side.

  2. griffin ipad 2 January 19, 2012 / 10:05 am

    I have this technology on my phone that if it gets stolen and a new card is inserted in it, my family members are notified straight away of the new number. Although, I don't think my phone has a tracking device but I think if I have the no. of the person who stole my phone I can contact the police and get him/her traced.

  3. skjult kamera January 24, 2012 / 4:43 pm

    Nothing is really "unsolvable", but I think the steps are needed to solve this problem. It's a two sided issue, on behalf of network providers and the end user.End user should become responsible this applies more to adults than younger kids who have phones but my point remains. we have to search all the information related to mobile phone security and mobile phone theft and keeps our mobile safe…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.