Protect Information When Getting Rid Of An Old Phone - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Protect Information When Getting Rid Of An Old Phone

Cell phones are something used every day. Without thinking, people store numbers, passwords, and even their most personal information all on the mobile devices.

The new iPhone 6 will launch Friday, September 19th, 2014. A lot of people will be trading in, or selling their old devices, but those chunking the old phones will need to make sure all personal  information isn't still left on it.

There are many different steps to take when clearing old information on various devices. The first step is to save all information on a separate storage source, like a computer, or for iPhone users iCloud.

The next step is to completely wipe and clear the cell phone of all contents and settings. Many can access this through the settings tab in your devices menu. Once you wipe or reset the phone everything will be completely gone off the phone.

However, after the device is cleared the SIM or SD card located inside the phone also needs to be removed or destroyed.

“A lot of people keep passwords or different things on their notepads or stuff on their phones,” said AT&T manager Chris Romolton. “That's the big part of making sure the device is wiped so you don't leave any personal information whether it be passwords to your email or to your iTunes.”

For those that trade their phones into AT&T the service provider will wipe and shred your SIM card for you. Although this is the first step and a huge part of keeping your information safe, one software CEO said it's not all that you should do.

“They don't realize for savvy hackers, they can still hack 90 percent of your information if you don't take a few more steps after you do that,” said Ram Garg, Mobile Commerce Expert, and CEO of Software Assurance.

He said that after personally clearing his device, along with his tech crew,he found out just how reliable only wiping your phone was for good hackers. Garg sent his phone off to see if they would still be able to track down his information, and the results were shocking. The investigator told him they were still able to gather three years worth of his personal information from a phone he thought he had completely wiped.

“So if myself, who is tech-savvy, and my team, which is tech-savvy can make this kind of mistake, obviously the general public is no where close to understanding these complexities,” said Garg.

He said after wiping and clearing SIM cards, there are a few extra steps you can take. He said the third step is to encrypt your phone. Doing so will make your information harder to break through.  You can also download additional software that will act as a fourth and final cleaning step. The additional software is cheap to download and specific to the type of phone you have.

“The last step that will ensure a near 100 percent, and I'm using near 100 because even federal systems are not 100 percent and people can still hack into them," Garg said.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6

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