Samsung has a plan to stop smartphone repairers from poking around in your photos

In South Korea, Samsung is starting to roll out a “repair mode”. Once activated, it would prevent the person handling your smartphone from accessing many apps and data.

For several years, testimonials have reported bad experiences of customers (and especially customers) who went to a repair center to, for example, have the screen of their smartphone changed. Some of them have seen intimate photos stolen, presumably by technicians not very comfortable with the concept of respect for private life. Numerama has also heard of similar situations in France. Employees of department stores have alerted us to the behavior of their colleagues, who have fun looking for “nudes” or other intimate photos for fun. Abuses of which large companies are aware, which have reviewed their internal training to alert on the use of data. We also know that large groups, such as Apple, have had to spend several million dollars to prevent this kind of business from harming their image.

The first manufacturer to take this problem seriously appears to be Samsung, which has designed a “repair mode” for its Galaxy smartphones. According to the specialized site SamMobile, it is currently being tested in South Korea. We do not know when it will be generalized internationally.

A mode to hide photos

Once activated, the “repair mode” restricts the use of the smartphone. The person handling the device, even if they have their code, cannot access several applications such as the photo library or messaging. Only the natively installed applications work, which will prevent a malicious person from spying on you.

Enabling repair mode on a Korean Galaxy. // Source: SamMobile

What to do while waiting?

If you are not the owner of a Korean Galaxy and you need to bring a device in for repair soon, what can you do to protect yourself? As far as possible, to replace a window for example, the easiest way is not to give your code. The option is often optional, even if some technicians ask for it a little too easily. More extreme, if a device is going to be around for a long time, you can always back up its data and reset it before sending it in for repair (or disable iCloud/Google Photos library). It’s annoying, but it will protect you 100%. Some manufacturers, like Google, also require a complete reset of the smartphone before taking it for repair.

For further

An iPhone.  // Source: Unplash/Martin Sanchez (cropped photo)

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