New Android App: If Your Phone Is Stolen, It Photographs The Thief

If your Android phone is stolen, a new app could help you play detective and figure out where the it is, or who took it.

The days of “Hey bro, call my phone so I can find it” and wandering around listening for vibrations are long over. Kaspersky’s mobile security app for the Android will help you figure it out by sending pictures of the phone’s surroundings. A new web-based control center for the app will also allow users to activate “Mugshot,” a feature that takes control of the phone’s forward-facing camera and takes pictures of whatever is in front of it.

Photos are taken secretly, so don’t worry about a big “GOTCHA!” flash blowing your cover, causing the potential thief to drop the Android down a sewer drain where you’ll never find it. The photos taken can be viewed through the app’s web-based control center or emailed to a pre-determined address, reports Mashable.

Though accessing the phone’s camera might help you remember where you misplaced your Android, or reveal the face of its thief, the app has some slightly more useful features for locating a missing smartphone. For instance, it will allow you to use GPS, GSM or Wi-Fi, and Google Maps to find your lost phone, and even though the “take a picture of your phone’s thief!” might help sell the app, this feature is likely the more practical and useful of the two.

Android security

The security app also lets you view recent activity logs for your Android and will tell you if the SIM card has been removed or replaced. You can get Kaspersky Mobile Security here if you have an Android that occasionally sprouts legs.

Android security

I haven’t tried out the app myself, but a few things about the picture feature seem odd to me. Where are the most common places a phone is likely to be? A purse? A pocket? Laying face-up on a table somewhere? Sounds like you’d have to memorize your friends’ ceilings and the fan blades in your favorite bars to really get full use of the feature. You’d have to be really lucky to snap a photo the exact second someone is looking at the phone. Luckier still if the person pictured is an actual thief instead of some Good Samaritan who just turns the Android over to the patron of wherever you left it, leaving you no better than where you started.

The GPS and log review features are probably the most useful, and it does sound like this is a good app if you more-than-occasionally misplace your Android. But this is all theoretical.

Do you have the Kaspersky Mobile Security app? What say you, useful or not?