Phone thief, here's looking at you

SINGAPORE - A suspected phone thief may have inadvertently taken the picture that could lead to his arrest - thanks to a high-tech security app.

AntiVirus PRO, developed by online-security company AVG, features a "camera trap" that snaps a picture of anyone who enters the wrong passcode into the phone three times in a row.

That picture, along with a map of the phone's location, is then sent in an e-mail message to the registered owner.

Police issued a release on Wednesday appealing for information about a man snapped using an Android smartphone reported missing in Prinsep Street in June.

It is not the first time that such an app has been used to aid an investigation.

Many other apps, from firms like Lookout and Prey, make use of the phones' front-facing cameras to take "thefties" and track lost phones.

Joseph Gan, chief technology officer of Singapore cybersecurity firm V-Key, said anti-theft protection has become popular in the last two or three years.

"Because of the growth in low-cost Android smartphones, many anti-virus companies include anti-theft features with their mobile anti-virus solutions," said Mr Gan.

"There are good offerings from quite a number of companies. But users need to be careful that they install software from trusted vendors."


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