Posts Tagged ‘Mobile Phone’

Dial “C” for Caution

Thursday, February 12th, 2009
Sensitive Data Here

Caution: Sensitive Data Here

We are all sensitive to the need to protect confidential business data on our laptop computers, but have you given any thought to what is stored on your cell phone? Just a few weeks ago a man in New Zealand paid $10 for a used MP3 player and found it preloaded with U.S. military records and personnel data for troops stationed in the Middle East. In December, an old BlackBerry  was sold for $20 at a garage sale of the McCain Presidential Campaign. It was found to be preloaded with sensitive Republican donor information, emails, and more. Unfortunately, incidents such as these, while embarrassing, are all too common. Don’t let them happen at your small business.

Regenersis processed over two million mobile phone handsets in 2008 and last December, during a random sampling of 2,000 recycled mobile phones, found that 99% of them stored sensitive data such as banking information and confidential e-mail messages. The average mobile phone is replaced every 18 months; if you do not clear these handsets of data before you recycle or dispose of them, you may jeopardize the security of your small business. Of course, not all cell phones are recycled or donated once they are removed from service. In the U.S., over 700 million cell phones that are no longer actively used are stockpiled in homes or businesses, which also pose security risks.

Do not rely on the next user or the cell phone recycling firm to purge your data for you. It is safer to invest a minute or two to learn how to do a proper factory reset/hard reset on your phone, remove memory and/or SIM cards, check to make sure everything’s been wiped, and then dispose of your handset.