Let’s face it, the phone is being touted as the replacement device for almost all PC related activities. In the future powerful smartphones with projectable screens or larger screens will allow users to handle all email, voice, messaging functionality leaving computers only for graphics design, rendering or gaming applications for the most part.
The phone will eventually sync with everything in your life (it already can unlock and start your car) and will carry all of your data synced in a cloud online. This phone will likely also become your primary payment method using NFC. In short if you were to lose your phone 3-4 years from now it would be more damaging to your life and identity than losing your wallet.
This is were future safeguards are going to be needed to help put consumer faith in the phone and help worry less about loss or risk associated with unauthorized access.
Mobile Phone Physical Access Security
One of the things I envision is a fingerprint or facial recognition that is required to unlock the phone, the ideal solution is where you can register a certain number of users like your spouse and children who all have access to unlock your phone (if you want them to have access) in case of an emergency. This way if your phone is physically stolen or lost you have a more secure mechanism in place than any password protection scheme.
Already technologies exist that let you brick or disable your phone if it isn’t in your possession, these require you to contact the carrier or use a mobile application that can remotely perform it but also require you to initiate the disable. Maybe having some sort of wearable device that when the phone goes 100’ away from that device it auto disables or does not allow itself to be unlocked could be another example of securing the device when it isn’t close to you.
Application Access Security
Already applications are making strides in the mobile space to protect certain applications which may contain sensitive or more critical data on your phone and separate the level of access to use those applications from your generic phone applications. This security method would privatize a portion of your phone while leaving the rest of it public and may be another answer without needing physical security features listed in the above paragraph. Such phones would require authentication to access cloud data or applications which have sensitive information.
Of course these features pose a risk if you allow your password to be “remembered” by the application, and users would get annoyed having to type their password every time they accessed an application so some happy medium like password memory for X minutes like iOS does now would probably be the way to go.
Other features could involve using certain finger swiping patterns or combinations without using an actual password, but too many people would probably just swipe up, down, diagonal and it would be as easy as using password as your password. Note the new Windows 8 Operating System does a combination of using swipes across the top of the screen to log into the Operating System, they claim that the various swipes are at least as secure as typing a password since it is highly unlikely anyone would figure out multiple swipe patterns/directions from finger print smudges on the screen.
Remote Disabling Smart Phone
Touched on above would be a way to easily and simply remote disable your smart phone, the moment you realized you left it behind you simply contact your carrier or online application and your phone becomes an instant brick with a security message saying to return the phone to it’s owner with your information being the only thing that displays on the front screen.
There are already some applications that can not only do this, but also use GPS technology to show you where you left your phone as long as it is still connected and on.
Phones are going to become even more critical to someone’s life and identity in the near future and what will you do to make sure your identity and information stays intact in case your phone falls into the wrong hands?