Phone Disposal: An Actual Threat?
Apparently, as if hackers and malicious apps weren’t enough, your method of disposing off your phone could also put you at a great security risk. A new smartphone is always on the horizon, considering there are new offerings every couple of months to entice us all. It’s not rare for many people to actually find a new phone before they’ve enjoyed a year with their old one.
Your Trash Is Someone Else’s Treasure
In digital terms, your trash should also be your own treasure. When you throw out a phone you’re leaving the opportunity for a hacker to find it to mine data open. Almost the entirety of your life is store on your phone in some way or the other. So imagine then you throw your old one away you’re throwing away a record of pretty much every single thing that can be digitally traced back to you.
Of the 416,000 cell phones that are trashed every day, over 40% haven’t been cleared of their data before disposal. The stats from ConsumerReports.Org are super scary at best. Almost half of the cell phone users throwing their phones out don’t bother ensuring that their phones won’t become a security risk in the future.
The kind of data that we store on our phone isn’t restricted to sensitive information such as emails, texts, contacts, call records etc. we also go on to put up a lot of pictures and videos in our phones to record our lives as we go. These things can turn into fodder for identity theft or even blackmail in some cases.
How to Avoid the Problem
Start by making sure you wipe all the data from your phone. Only do this if you’re sure that you have backed up all the files that you need. After you are done wiping out the data from the phone restore it to factory settings. This should ensure that you have actually completely erased all the data that was on your phone. Additionally, ensure that you aren’t leaving your memory card plugged into the phone when you dispose of it. It could be used to recover information that has been deleted.
You should follow these steps before selling your phone to someone else as well. The danger is actually higher of selling a phone to someone else because you can rest assured they would find something about you if they wanted to look. As opposed to a hacker going through trash to actually subject you to their malicious ideals.
Being generally smart about your digital habits is never a bad idea. Remember that data that is sensitive has to be taken care of properly unless you want it to land into someone else’s hands. So make sure that you keep your data safe while you own the phone, and then make sure that you have taken all possible precautions against someone else gaining access to that data once you throw the phone away. At the end of the day the responsibility lies with you alone.