Research in Motion has released an application that allows individual BlackBerry users to wirelessly wipe, lock, backup, restore and locate their device in the event that it is lost or stolen.
The BlackBerry Protect app was made available as a free download to Australian users this week and introduced several functions for SMB and individual users.
First, the device's loud ring tones can be activated remotely, allowing the user to locate a missing handset that is still within close range.
If the device can’t be found, users can log-in to the BlackBerry Protect web site to lock the device and display a message on the device's home screen. This web site also provides users the ability to locate the lost device on a map.
If users fear the worst, they can remotely delete the information on the device and any microSD card attached to avoid personal information landing in the wrong hands.
A spokesperson for RIM told iTnews that many of these functions were already available to corporate users via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, but not to individuals on consumer BlackBerry Individual Server plans.
Users of the app can also choose to backup contacts, calendar, memos, tasks, browser bookmarks, and text messages on their device automatically on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
The app currently works on selected BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry OS (Device Software) 4.6 or higher and requires a consumer data plan.
The RIM spokesman told iTnews that backing up data on the device was “included in the BlackBerry data plan and is not subject to additional charges."
Many of these functions are already available on competing handsets.
Earlier this month, Google introduced enhanced security features for Android device users, very much along the same lines as those introduced by BlackBerry Protect.
Lost or stolen Android phones and tablets can now be secured using the Google Apps Device Policy App via Google's My Devices website. This includes resetting device PINs, locating devices on a map and ringing devices remotely.
Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone 4 also has built-in security measures that can be activated by the user, such as the erase data feature, which will erase all the data on the handset after ten incorrect passcode attempts (assuming the user created a passcode).
Users of the iPhone can also set more complex passcodes if they feel four digits are insufficient.
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