Cartoonist XKCD creates the ultimate lost phone security system


Originally published at:


XKCD is created by Randall Munroe :smiley:


Ninja’d me :slight_smile:

Except you’re both technically right. Randall came up with the name xkcd because it’s a 4 letter name that can’t be pronounced and he used it on IRC: the comic came later. xkcd is always capitalized as xkcd if we do want something to be pedantic about.


I’m holding out for an airstrike option.


I would like to see a list of options for when the phone is taken by state actors.


Bah, if he was serious about phone security, it would include a remote detonation option. NVM


He did :wink:


I love the “It Follows” concept: That if you steal a phone, somewhere out there is a self-driving car heading towards you at five miles-per-hour.


OH shit - doh - missed that. God damn it.


The phone sends a text to the ACLU and your next of kin, then tries to melt itself.



Pizza-by-drone a reality with world-first customer deliveries in New Zealand


Modifies the Uber app so that all rides go to the address of the owner of the phone.



The problem with a ‘detonate’ option is that you have to be even more careful about security up until the point where the phone gets stolen.

Yahya Ayyash made that mistake once, in the mid 90’s. Once.


It’s also part of the reason electronics have been scrutinized by TSA more in the last years… poorly, but understandably so. It would be trivial to modify an electronic with a large battery to overheat and combust. Laughably TSA’s solution for disallowing certain electronics from the cabin is to store them in the cargo hold, like that’s going to prevent any fires.


It’s a particularly peculiar ‘solution’ given that when treated as a hazmat shipping problem the rules are tighter for ‘inaccessible’ material; presumably because inaccessibility makes detecting problems or correcting them before it is too late tricky).

If one is some sort of incompetent, like the ‘shoe bomber’ guy, it might be necessary to have your device in the cabin to manually trigger it; but that sort of thing has been a machine’s job for quite some time now; and suppressing a small metal fire, while unpleasant, is going to be markedly easier than dealing with one that has had time to recruit all the other checked baggage.



It’s missing the option to post “My parents are away, party at my place!” on various social media. That always ends well.

  • Make them late for their auditions
  • Forward their agent’s calls to random numbers


I think it’s increasingly more difficult to assume something exists on the internet Randall has not already covered.