Have you ever sold an old mobile? If you have, did you make sure to remove all your personal data? Are you sure? Because taking out your sim card and pressing ‘delete’ could still leave sensitive data behind…
I have every mobile phone I’ve ever owned – either in my pocket or in my bottom drawer. Yes, I’ve only ever owned two mobiles. Both are chunky beasts and soon I’ll replace my current faithful Nokia brick with a slim and smarter one.
And when that swap happens, my Nokia will join its brother at the bottom of my drawer. At first this was because I knew I’d only get less than a fiver if I sold it for scrap, but now it might be due to the amount of data I might unwittingly leave on it.
What have you left on your old mobile phone?
Half of us are leaving private personal data on our discarded mobiles according to Disklabs. From the 50 handsets they bought off eBay, many had data as sensitive as credit card numbers, pins and even (heaven forbid) pornographic photos.
Depending on your model, data’s stored in all sorts of places on your mobile. Simply pressing ‘delete’ on a text message, for example, is often not enough to remove it completely.
Plus, with the rise of apps, there’s a lot more diverse sensitive info lurking within your phone. Take for example, GPS apps – these often know where you live, down to the metre. You wouldn’t want that getting into the wrong hands – especially if you’ve unwittingly left your bank account details on your mobile as well.
That’s not to say leaving data on your mobile is all your fault. How are you meant to know that pressing ‘delete’ doesn’t get rid of your info for good? So my advice (and Disklabs) is to perform a factory reset on your mobile before you trade it in – you’ll find this in your settings menu – it’s the most reliable way to get rid of your personal data.
And mobile phone manufactures, shame on you for not letting us know how to delete our data absolutely.