If you ever plan on selling your mobile phone on eBay, do yourself a big favor and make sure you give it a good old factory reset. Wipe the memory card too while you’re at it. This advice comes from from the mobile and forensics experts Disklabs who purchased 50 handsets from eBay, admittedly a small sample size, only to discover that a whopping 50% of them still had some sort of personal data on their internal memory. Over 60% of the devices had phone numbers still left in the call log and 9 out of the 50 [18%] had pornographic images on them, most likely from those crazy late night sexting sessions that seem to be all the rage these days.
“The worst thing a consumer can do is hope or assume that the person buying the phone will remove the data,” said Simon Steggles, Firector of Disklabs. “Any data left on the phone is effectively open to the public domain. That could be as varied as intimate photos, videos and text messages … People hit ‘delete’ and think that means it is gone for ever, but that’s not the case.”
Is it any wonder then why services such as Apple’s MobileMe and now HTC’s Sense.com are becoming an attractive proposition for users? Both services enable consumers to remotely wipe a mobile device should it get misplaced or stolen. The feature originated in the corporate world, where business secrets had to be kept close to the chest. Now regular everyday people need the same type of functionality because they live their entire lives on the little plastic and metal brick in their pockets. At least password protect your device in case you misplace it. Many people don’t even do that, yet they’ve got no problems putting passwords on their computer. Why is that?
Be safe people.