Securing your mobile tech
28/06/15 05:24 Filed in: Industry
The best security is simple, convenient....and therefore effective.
I’m always on the look out for ways to secure my tech gear - especially when out running/on my bike, or of course out socialising. Over the years I’ve lost a couple of wallets, phones, and the odd other bit. Nothing catastrophic, but it’s irritating when it happens.
For example I have a separate wallet that I use when I’m out doing more unusual stuff such as sport, or going to the pub. I only take what I need. It just seems sensible and limits what I can lose - or rather the impact of that loss. I’ll be honest and say I may take this a little far - I even have a cash account with not much cash in it that has a Visa card on it. I use that Visa card for all my Internet purchases (it’s the only card that makes it anywhere near the Internet), and for when I’m out travelling or socialising. Perhaps a bit far? I’m not sure. Working in technology tells me redundancy and limiting risk in a way that is convenient works - inconvenient security doesn’t….because you don’t do it. I also have a second phone - it’s an old iPhone 5S. I again use this when out on my bike/running or sometimes out socialising. That’s less about security really, more about not wanting to be carrying around my normal day to day iPhone 6+ when on my bike or running. It’s a bit big and chunky for a start.
So, I’m always interested in things or ideas around personal security. Perhaps too much so? I may be making this sound like I’m always losing things - I’m not! In fact it’s fairly rare, but maybe that’s because…...
I spotted a kickstarter project not too long ago, called PluggyLock. This little device fits right in to my ‘interested in personal security for my stuff’, and aligns with the convenience and easy. So, what is it? Well, it’s a rather ingenious little device that fits in to your headphone socket of your phone/iPad, and secures itself by being tightened in to the socket. Turning the unit compresses a small rubber bung which in turn secures it in the headphone socket.
Once it’s in place, you can attach a lanyard to it if you want, and hang your phone around your neck. Don’t do this. You’ll look like a prize pilchard. Alternatively, what you can do is then attach it to a security chain which attaches to your bag (for an iPad for example). Or, if it’s on your phone, it can clip on your jeans. As a side note, I’d use a lanyard for this - chains just make you look like a failed 80s skate boarder. Oh. Wait.
This is a similar concept used by some security wallets - for example I have one of the PacSafe wallets like this one that I use to clip in to my bike back-pack, or onto my jeans if I’m out socialising. It’s less about stopping my wallet being nicked, it’s more about ensuring it doesn’t fall out of my bag, or more likely I stupidly just leave it on a table somewhere.
Attach one of those security chains or lanyards to the PluggyLock, and then clip your phone/iPad/whatever into your bag (a lot of sports bags have the key-loops don’t they?) and it’ll be far more secure than it was previously. Off out on the town, then clip the thing on to your jeans.
Perhaps slightly geeky, but when your tech runs in to the 700GBP plus, never mind the value of the data on the things, then I think it’s a perfectly valid idea.
What about the product itself? Well, it’s certainly well made - it looks like this:
That’s with it secured in its ‘holder’ - somewhere to put it when it’s not physically in your phone. It’s secured in the holder exactly the same way it’s secured in your headphone socket - by twisting it. Taking it out of the holder and putting it in your phone is real easy:
It also feels very secure. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be possible to pull out (they say it’ll carry up to 3.2Kg) - I’m sure it would be - but it’s secure enough that you’d certainly notice the pressure required to pull it out. There’s a great video here (from PluggyLock) showing how it works.
An obvious question that came to my mind was would this damage the headphone socket? Personally, I don’t think it will. It’s a rubber bung applying pressure to the side-walls of the socket. I wonder if you can over-tighten it? I’m not willing to test it to that level - what I do know is that I’m comfortable with the level of tightness required to secure it well in my phone or my iPad, to provide an anchor point to my bag/clothes.
How much does it cost? I paid 13GBP for it from eBay (just search for it) which I must admit I thought was pretty steep for something so small…but it’s engineered well, and it’s an early days product - I expect the price will come down. As a side note the seller also included a note thanking me for being an early-adopter customer, and included a couple of free lanyards. A nice, and appreciated, touch.
I think this is a winning idea - it’s simple, works, and adds a level of security in a convenient and slightly geeky way. If you want to be ultra-geeky you could also hang your phone around your neck*.
*Don’t do this, everyone will avoid you.