When it comes to stopping smartphone thieves from being able to use your stolen device, lock codes help to some extent to protect your data. While that might protect the data you have stored on your device, the thief could still wipe the phone and sell it online. Qualcomm has unveiled a hardware kill switch that will render stolen or lost devices unusable.

The hardware kill switch is in part Qualcomm’s effort to meet the California mandate that all smartphones sold in the state have a hardware kill switch as of July 2015. Qualcomm has announced that all Snapdragon processors can include a hardware component that could be disabled by the kill switch and give advantages over a software only approach to kill switches.

The tech is Qualcomm SafeSwitch and it will allow the owner of the smartphone to unlock it if they recover the device. The kill switch is verified by the processor to reduce the risk of malicious locking or unlocking of devices. Qualcomm says that with the kill switch engaged, thieves won’t be able to flash new software to the smartphone.

Qualcomm SafeSwitch will show up in new smartphones that land next year. The kill switch might also be available for older phones as well, it’s unclear which Qualcomm processors support the kill switch as of now.

SOURCE: Android Headlines