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Samsung Galaxy S4 shipping with Knox security tracking

David Ludlow
4 Apr 2013
Samsung Galaxy S4 Knox security tracking
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Find your Galaxy S4 if it's stolen, even after a hard reset

Phone theft is a huge problem, but with the Samsung Galaxy S4 you've got a good chance of recovery thanks to the Knox built-in security tracking.

Conceptually, this is similar to the Find My iPhone for iOS devices, such as the iPhone 5, iPad 4 and iPad Mini. As soon as your phone's lost, you can simply track it online, while the phone's built-in GPS reveals its exact location.

The downside with Apple's implementation is that if the thief resets the iPhone, the security tracking is disabled and you lose your phone for good. With the Samsung Galaxy S4, it's a lot more robust, thanks to a partnership with Absolute.

Better known for its Computrace laptop tracking software, Absolute has its firmware persistence technology. In other words, part of the tracking is built into the device's firmware, so it survives even if the phone's OS is reset. By integrating this into Knox, Samsung ensures that the Galaxy S4 can be tracked even after a hard reset.

It means that even if thieves were to complete wipe the phone and sell it, you'd be able to track and locate it. With that information you can pass on your phone's location to the proper authorities and get them to recover your handset. Also, if thieves become aware of the technology built into the phone, it could make the Samsung Galaxy S4 less of a target.

Knox is aimed at business users and is designed to add additional security to the Android platform. While tracking technology is included, its main use is to give users a work and personal mode, on the same phone. The idea is that you only have to carry one phone, but for it to act as two separate devices: the work part is managed by your company and is locked down; the personal part is open to you and works like your own phone; and both parts are completely independent.

Samsung's original specification sheet for the Galaxy S4 stated that Knox was for business users only, so we're not sure if that means that consumers will be able to use the tracking facility or not. We do know that the physical hardware is built into all Galaxy S4 handsets, though. As soon as we know how the service will be made available, we'll let you know.

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