An Alarming Development at Tech Conference

DEMO Conference

SAN DIEGO — The first day of the DEMO conference here saw a range of clever applications that drew the occasional hoots of appreciation, laughter for
presentation and polite applause for functionality. Then came Maverick Mobile.

There wasn’t much to indicate the company had anything but another mobile security solution as CEO Sujit Jain explained how the company’s Maverick Secure Mobile software can help protect a phone that’s been stolen.

Once a thief swaps out a phone’s SIM card , the application works in the background to notify the owner of the change by sending an alert to a pre-designated alternate number — a second phone you own, or one belonging to a friend, colleague or family member.

If the software detects that your phone’s SIM card has been altered, it will notify your reporting contact phone, sending them a log of calls and messaging activity made on the phone. Also, the contact information stored on your phone is automatically encrypted and available for you to retrieve using the data plan enabled by the thief’s SIM card change — in other words, the thief pays for the transfer.

That got a big laugh and applause. But Jain wasn’t finished with the demonstration.

“How about making life miserable for the thief?” Jain asked. By sending a “Hang” command to your stolen phone, a loud alarm goes off repeatedly. Jain played the alarm to great effect, drawing sustained applause.

Alarm activation also disables the device completely, though the alarm still blares even if the thief attempts to turn the phone off. The only way to make it stop — short of smashing the phone — is to remove the battery. But that is only short-term relief, as Jain happily explained, since the alarm will resume blaring the moment the battery is replaced.

The software currently works on Symbian-based phones from Nokia and others.

“We’ll have support for Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices in the next four to six weeks,” Jain later told

Maverick Mobile is based in India. Jain said the company is negotiating with carriers and other potential partners and expects to have information on rates and availability in the U.S. shortly.

According to Maverick’s Web site, another feature of the software, called “Spy Call”, will let the owner call the stolen device from the reporting phone. The feature switches on the stolen device’s loudspeaker and microphone, so the caller can secretly listen in on
the thief.

If nothing else, the feature has very interesting sitcom possibilities!

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