So you've got some fancy new hardware...

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Samsung Monte was my faithful companion for several years, but I’ve finally switched to smoking-hot Ice Cream Sandwich called Galaxy Nexus. The phone is great and with many virtues and a wonderful companion to a web/Android developer such as myself… but that’s not what I wanted to muse over.

One of the features of the phone is the ability to encrypt it, fully. The encryption would make it nearly impossible for anyone to access the data on the phone without a password once it’s shut down and is therefore a good safeguard to put on your device in case it ever gets stolen… or is it? Zoz gives a good talk on why not locking your hardware might be a good idea and goes on to show how it might even get you your stuff back. It actually makes sense: locking your device will result in either…

  1. It being taken apart for parts
  2. A factory reset of some kind

On the other hand, assuming the ‘average’ pickpocket is not a tech savy person and the stolen device “just works”… why would (s)he ever bother with removing the pre-installed software?

There is this wonderful project called Prey, a anti-theft solution for computers and phones. The software works by running (mostly) passively on the background until it gets activated by You. The software allows you to execute control over your lost/stolen device and even geo-locate it without the thief’s knowledge.

However, should the device ever been reset or taken apart for parts, Prey is powerless. Hence the dilemma: should I leave a open door (a passwordless user account, an unencrypted, non SIM-locked phone) in my device’s security on purpose? I guess it all comes down to whether the privacy and value of the data I hold on the device overweights the value of the device itself.

What do You think?

Update: I’ve encrypted my phone since I value my data and identity more than a few hundred euros.