Wow, you got the latest Android phone and use it more than your computer/laptop for everything from documents, emails, web browsing to online shopping, online banking and even to store your private information like photos and videos. The first question that clicks "Is there a way to protect my phone?" and not till you misplace it or somebody steals it from you in the busy market. Be proactive and not regretful, install Cerberus, the most sought after anti-theft application in the Android ecosystem.
Cerberus is an anti-theft application on steroids for Android. Its features not only make it stand out in the Android ecosystem, but also puts anti-theft applications on other platforms to shame.
Cerberus, is available at the official website - Cerberus and Google Play Store. For more advance users, the official website provides an interesting option of disguised version, which makes it run as a system process (hidden from user view).
Few features which puts Cerberus ahead are - managing multiple devices (currently 3 devices) using a single account, turning GPS On automatically when the device tracking is initiated, remote managing of device via internet and sms, hiding of application icon from the user view for security, hide the using a dial code to access application features and remote control via web tool, SMS commands or Cerberus Client on mobile.
The mobile application is primarily to setup and configure Cerberus to achieve its potential. Cerberus is successful only with a web managing tool accessible at Cerberusapp.com. The web tool provides abundant features to remotely manage the phone like:
- Start tracking: Track your phone on Google Maps. If you have a rooted device, you can have the GPS enable automatically for more accuracy.
- Stop tracking: Self-explanatory
- Get device info: Displays the IP address, Wi-FI SSID (if connected), phone number, SIM card number and provider
- Lock with code: Set a desired lock code remotely that will be required to access the phone
- Unlock: Disable the lock code
- Start alarm with message: Turns On a high volume alarm with a message on the screen
- Display message: Displays a message on screen
- Get call log: Fetch and view the call log from the phone
- Get SMS log: SMS log of all the text messages.
- Call a phone: Call a desired number to track number of the person who has your phone
- Record Audio: Record maximum of 300 seconds of audio and then download an mp4 file without raising alarm
- Take Picture: Snap a shot with the front-facing/rear camera and have it delivered to your email immediately
- Grab screenshot: For rooted phones only
- Start & stop emergency mode: Make your phone send regular updates on its location via email and SMS when it goes missing
- Hide or Show in App Drawer: Make Cerberus invisible to the naked eye
- Wipe device memory/Wipe SD card: Deletes all information on your phone
- Reboot device: Restart the phone
- Backup data: Store backup of data on connected cloud services
- Stop backup: Terminate the backup
- Get installed apps: Fetch the list of installed applications, incase the person has installed anything additional
- Start application: Run an application on phone
- Start service: Run a service like GPS etc.
- Send broadcast: To
- Start shell: Access your phone via adb shell commands
- Enable & Disable bluetooth: Manage bluetooth
- Enable & Disable Wi-Fi hotspot: Manage Wi-Fi hotspot
- Capture screen recording: For rooted phones only
- Change app settings: Manage application settings via web tool
The list of remote commands that you can initiate from the web interface is quite comprehensive, alternatively you can even activate them via SMS commands. List of SMS commands are available at Cerberus Help page
In case you carry two devices - phones or a tablet (all features except the one which requires a SIM card are functional); an easy way to manage Cerberus using SMS and without remembering the commands is through Cerberus Client. Install the Client application on both the devices and use them incase one of these goes missing. The Cerberus Client application requires account credentials for access. The SMS commands sent via the Client can be a regular SMS or a hidden SMS. The hidden SMS does not get listed in the messaging application. Client interface is also a mini web tool interface optimised for the mobile screens.
Cerberus currently offers free trial for one week, then you can buy a lifetime license for a small price 4.99€ (approx. value INR 330) from within the application: no monthly or yearly fees, just a one-time payment.
How to use
After the installation, you’d need to create an account with Cerberus. The account creation can be done via both the application or directly on the website. The account is linked with an email address. This email address is used for reporting. On the successful creation of the account, login to the application. The first screen displays a large scrollable list of options and settings. This list is separated under various headers:
- Password - Device administration - Remote backup - Remote wipe - Location history - Video capture - Notification access
At the bottom of the list is the About section, this displays the version number, Device ID (unique ID for each device) and Cerberus log (good to view tracking activity for testing).
To access the account, login to the Cerberus website. The login page has a flat design with nothing fancy. Once you login to your account the start page is quite simple with a three-frame layout - Menu layout (devices selection and account management), Maps (major frame of the layout) and the current activity status log.
The top most menu presents a drop list of the devices attached with the account. The device listing mentions the unique ID of each device along with the custom device name, to make them more identifiable.
Under the Menu section, there is a drop down for all the actions (large scrollable list) that Cerberus can perform. These actions when selected perform interaction with the device and lists them on the Map or/and the Activity status log.
An important point to note, most of the features on Cerberus and other anti-theft applications, require active mobile data and GPS for tracking purposes. Few commands shall be executed via sms commands incase there is no active mobile data. Cerberus, includes an added feature of activating the GPS via sms command for location tracking. The accuracy of tracking on Cerberus depends on the accuracy of the GPS.
Competition & Limitation
Cerberus features definitely puts it in the lead of any other anti-theft application. Personally, the option to manage multiple devices from a single account take away the hassle of remember too many credentials and allows easy management. Having used Cerberus for more than 3 years, it clearly is a way ahead from default anti-theft solutions provided by Android (Device Manager), Apple (Find my phone) and even Windows (Find my phone) application. These only offer limited options like - Ring, Lock and Wipe/Erase.
While everything is great on the Cerberus, it suffers the same limitations as with any anti-theft application - they all need GPS and Data. These two ingredients make up an anti-theft application, but Cerberus is served best with extra toppings those come along.
Google in 2014 announced about Android Auto. Android Auto will bring android to the integrated car consoles. Since Cerberus only focuses currently on the Android platform, the chances of it supporting Android Auto is really high.
Imagining Cerberus for Android Auto, it’ll enable features of the car anti-theft systems. Only if gets further integrated to the car, allowing remote control over the engine and other parts...that will be dope. In a situation where a car thief steals your vehicle, Cerberus could track your car, capture photo of the thief and additionally enable you to stop the engine via web tool.
Pros - One account, yet multiple devices - Hidden from the application list - Remote control via - Web interface, SMS Commands and Cerberus Client app - Record audio & video - Remote backup of data on phone - Disable the power button when the phone is locked - 7 days trial option before making the spend
Cons - Pricey yet justified - Lowered the number of multiple devices setup under one account from 5 to 3 devices