Contxto – It just goes to show how innocent my mind really is. When I saw that a Mexican had designed an app that can track your phone even if it’s off I thought: “Oh, cool, for when I forget it at some party!”

So, you’ll understand my mixed feelings about the app’s true origins. Bernardo Ruz Hernández came up with Hammer Security upon seeing the not-so-recent spike in crime in his (and my) native State of Mexico—a part of the country close to Mexico City geographically, but worlds apart when it comes to the difference in crime and poverty rates.  

Necessity is the mother of all invention, I guess.

But, it was when I saw the Hammer Security video that I was really taken aback. It’s an intense few minutes during which you are taken through all the terrible things that could happen to you and your phone—and how the application can help.

“Hello, I am your new bodyguard; Hammer”, begins the video.

YouTube video

An app tailored for War Hammer

The app does have a few nifty features that cover issues from the catastrophic to the benignly neglectful.

Starting from the worst, if you get kidnapped the app comes equipped with a whole tool-belt of tricks. Firstly, it has a panic button which alerts your friends and family about your situation, passing on the phone’s location.

If the fiends go after your banking apps—which we expect will become increasingly prevalent as time goes on, even in largely unbanked Latin America—they will invariably force you to cough up your password to unlock your phone.

This is when a very clever trick kicks in. You will, looking after your personal safety first and foremost, enter a number that will unlock the phone. But, lo and behold, the banking app will be unresponsive. Why? Because you actually inserted your emergency code and while data-sensitive apps will be shut down, Hammer Security will be hard at work texting your loved ones.

In hopefully less, but potentially equally traumatic events, the app is also kitted out with similar emergency protocols if you were to get into a car crash. The app will detect the incident and give you a few seconds to stop it before it sends out the alarm. 

And then, of course, there’s the fact that you can log on to the app’s website and track your phone even if it’s off. Useful when you misplace the thing or if it gets snatched from your hands and the thief attempts to shut it off.

This “fake shutdown” will even go as far as to take snaps and audio of the deviants, in case you want to look at their pretty faces, or if you so cared, you could even transmit audio to your phone and talk to them.

Mind you, all this requires the phone to still have some juice in it. So out the window go my hopes for an app that would help me find my battery-less mobile betwixt an Uber’s seat and door.