Cartoon by Lisa Tkach.

People carry their mobile devices constantly, but they don’t always keep track of them. Considering the increasing number of thefts reported at Fairfield, students need to keep an eye on their phones to make sure they stay in their hands and not someone else’s.

Recently, a security application was created to help to keep track of a stolen or lost smartphone, and it even take a picture of the thief. This security app is called “Lookout” and is available for either iPhone or Android.

Lookout allows more than one phone on a free online account that can be upgraded to a paid account with additional features. The main feature, though, is the ability to control the phone over the website so the data on the phone can be tracked, updated and controlled.

When lost, the camera feature on the app takes a picture from the phone’s front facing camera when there are three incorrect passcode entries. This picture of the thief is then emailed to the owner so it can be shown to the authorities.

If a phone is stolen at Fairfield, like the many other electronic thefts reported, this feature could prove very useful on such a small campus. This picture could identify the unknown thief.

This app has many other features as well. There are three main ways that the app aims to assist the owner of the phone: when the device is missing, making sure the device is secure and backing up all the device data.

When the device is missing, the owner can log onto the Lookout website and take steps to track it. These steps include: calling another device from the number so they call back, calling the device from the website, locating the device and playing an alarm or adding contacts to call when the phone is found. The owner can also remotely lock the phone or erase all data.

The security feature on the app allows the user to check the safeness of their phone and usage. There is a system advisor that ensures the phone is up to date, checks the security of a WiFi network and location services and detects malicious processes.

Finally, there is a backup feature in the app that stores all of the contacts on the phone to a cloud. This ensures that even if the phone is lost and not recovered, the owner will still have their contacts saved.

There are many apps that have similar features to Lookout, especially those that can track a lost phone over GPS. Find My iPhone is a popular app from Apple that keeps track of iPhones.

Fairfield student James Pembroke ‘15 said, “Anyone who owns a phone with a front facing camera should think about getting Lookout, it takes a picture of the thief! That’s genius.”

Tara Lenehan ’15 agreed, saying, “I think it’s a great app! Especially for college students who are more likely to lose a phone while out and about. It could really help protect your info in a time of rampant electronics thefts. Most thieves are only interested in the data they can steal like things off of banking apps, not the phone itself. This protects you.”

To get the app and online account, simply download the app for either Android or iPhone, create an account with just an email and password, and then log onto the online Lookout website.

Assistant Director of Fairfield University Public Safety John Ritchie said, “I think installing an app that does that shows that a person is taking control of their own possessions and gives the power to the person.” Ritchie went on to say how helpful it would be if people would install apps like this in advance.

The lock feature, which allows a stolen or lost phone to be locked, is only available with the upgraded version, but all other features are included in the free version. Two other features included in the paid account are Privacy Advising and Safe Browsing, which monitor the content accessed on the phone.

Aside from the extra money for an upgraded account, this app protects smartphones and their data. With the high risk of having a phone stolen, installing an app like this protects it before it happens.

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