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Half of Used Phones Still Contain Personal Info

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-do-we-have-here dept.

Privacy 83

jhernik writes "More than half of second-hand mobile phones still contain personal information of the previous owner, posing a risk of identity fraud. A study found 247 pieces of personal data stored on handsets and SIM cards purchased from eBay and second-hand electronics shops. The information ranged from credit card numbers to bank account details, photographs, email address and login details to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. According to data security firm CPP, 81 percent of previous owners claim they have wiped personal data from their mobile phones and SIM cards before selling them. However, deleting the information manually is 'a process that security experts acknowledge leaves the data intact and retrievable.'"

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83 comments

manufactuers and telcos fault again (1, Informative)

devboys (2025058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597032)

Phone manufacturers and telcos are making the wiping much harder than it needs to be. I guess they do that because they don't make any money from you selling your phone second hand. This is especially true for iPhones and Android. Are Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 really the only phones that have complete wipe feature built-in? I dont even mean the usual delete, but actual multiple times overwriting. While it's more important for business users (and why RIM and Microsoft pay more attention to such details), it's something casual people need too. It needs to be on other phones than business ones too. But like it is, you usually get what you pay for - if you pay for professional software companies like Microsoft, you get products that have been though over and made secure. If you get something amateurish, well, that's what you get. The kind of things business users need are the first things forgotten in those devices and software products.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597044)

So you're saying Apple is amateurish and Microsoft is secure? Are you sure you thought that through?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (-1, Troll)

devboys (2025058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597070)

Yes. Apple makes computers for people who don't understand anything about computers. Microsoft makes computers for professionals.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597090)

Mcrosoft...professional. Oxymoron or moron?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

PsyciatricHelp (951182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597216)

Why bother spending the time to wipe a stolen device?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597612)

Actually...I'm kinda surprised, I'd never even ever thought about selling a cell phone after I've used it...is there really a market for this?

In the past, when my cell phone was off contract, it was usually so beat up, and outdated (2 main reasons I'd want to get a new one) I just usually chunk them in the trash. I kinda assumed most everyone did, I've never seen a used one before.

I supposed with more phones like the iPhone and Android ones that are smartphones, I can see a market for used ones...I guess some people aren't as hard on them as I am (and I'm not as hard on them as some of my friends, mine usually at least last the 2 years of the contract).

But really, do that many people on there resell their used cell phones...or are they as disposable as I've considered them in the past? Who wants to buy an older, obsolete phone? Is there much of a market for these? Is there really that big of one for the iPhone...since likelly by time you're out of contract on that....the battery is getting weak and you can't change the battery out yourself?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597764)

You might be surprised how cheap some people are! My brother in law would totally buy a used phone.

Here at work we re-use old handsets sometimes too, or give them to employees if they want to keep them.

I've thrown one or two out, kept some as spare (then gave it to gf and she lost it, or it was stolen..), and had my last phone stolen (weirdly it was on the day before my new one arrived by post).

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Igarden2 (916096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597938)

There are many for sale on Ebay. I am presently using one I purchased at a very good price from a merchant there. One must exercise caution to avoid stolen phones.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35600030)

The story is misleading 'tho'.

There is just as much PD left on 2nd-hand Blackberrys, and I would venture guessing that there is even more CORPORATE data on those...

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (2)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597154)

Yes. Apple makes computers for people who don't understand anything about computers. Microsoft makes computers for professionals.

Didn't know that Microsoft makes computers. But you are aware that most people who don't understand computers, use Windows, right? "Oh, perhaps the printer didn't hear me. I'll just hit the print button again."

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

wyverspur (611630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597342)

No, Microsoft makes software that is used by professionals. And although it is used by professionals, Windows is just a _toy_ Operating System, especially from a security stand point.

Nobody in their right mind would rely on Windows to actually run anything of importance. (That's why plants run on PLCs instead of Windows)

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597468)

Hey, could you post details for Microsoft's astroturfing ... sorry, professional advocacy and evangelism program? I could use the extra cash. 'Cause, you know, that old retard canard about Windows being for computer professionals dates back to the days when MacOS didn't have a command line and Windows ran over DOS; now that OS X has a bash shell and Windows has ... PowerShell, the most unintuitive shell imaginative, things have changed quite a bit.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (3, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597078)

It would not shock me if Microsoft took security more seriously than Apple.

Microsoft products are the target of more attacks.

Microsoft has more business customers.

I just got a new phone and have no idea if I successfully deleted everything from my old phone. It seems clean, but maybe I should just take it apart into little pieces and be done with it. I usually leave old phones in the donation bin at work, though.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1, Troll)

devboys (2025058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597088)

Also remember that the iPhone jailbreaks are actually remote exploits run on a website. iPhones are basically completely rooted just by visiting a website. Great security there, tho Apple users are posting is a "good" thing as it allows them to root their phone.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597094)

However, deleting the information manually is 'a process that security experts acknowledge leaves the data intact and retrievable.'"

I usually leave old phones in the donation bin at work, though.

Where do you work?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597400)

However, deleting the information manually is 'a process that security experts acknowledge leaves the data intact and retrievable.'"

I usually leave old phones in the donation bin at work, though.

Where do you work?

he works at Al Quaida. Plenty of second hand phones, they only get used once

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35601224)

And the outside of the phone may have minor scuffing, as if it were thrown twenty or thirty yards and landed on pavement.

I, for one, AM saying EXACTLY that: How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35598172)

... and I am not the one doing the saying: Facts & figures from a reputable site for security vulnerabilities data is for me!

"So you're saying Apple is amateurish and Microsoft is secure? Are you sure you thought that through?" - by Toe, The (545098) on Thursday March 24, @08:08AM (#35597044)

Fact is, the ENTIRE GAMUT of MS' Operating System, WebServer, DataBase, WebBrowser, & Development Tools Suite IDE does a better job in their ENTIRETY than does Apple on just its OS alone!

To wit:

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Windows 7: (03/24/2011)

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/27467/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

Unpatched 10% (6 of 59 Secunia advisories)

AND, of those 6 vulnerabilities, yes... 3 are "remote". HOWEVER, they're in subsystems (like FAX) that aren't installed "by default" (means I don't use it here), or have work-arounds (mhtml bug), OR, are caused/utilized by faulty 3rd party apps (funniest part on this one? Heh - Apple stuff triggers one, ITunes etc. but no other apps are KNOWN to).

I.E.-> "NO PROBLEMO!"

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Office 2010: (03/24/2011)

Unpatched 0% (0 of 4 Secunia advisories)

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/30529/?task=advisories [secunia.com]

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft SQL Server 2008: (03/24/2011)

Unpatched 0% (0 of 4 Secunia advisories)

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/21744/ [secunia.com]

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.x:

Unpatched 0% (0 of 6 Secunia advisories)

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/17543/ [secunia.com]

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Visual Studio 2010: (03/24/2011)

Unpatched 17% (1 of 6 Secunia advisories)

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/30853/ [secunia.com]

---

Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.x:

Unpatched 0% (0 of 0 Secunia advisories)

http://secunia.com/advisories/product/34591/ [secunia.com]

---

"BEAT THAT WITH A STICK!"

I put out ALL you need pretty much, to do a full blown development setup alongside the OS, to do business with!

Fact is?

I'd like to see the "FULL GAMUT" from the *NIX world show less errors than that above list of mine does (w/ only 7 errors tops, of which none really are serious enough to matter or to not be "worked-around" or avoided!)

APK

P.S.=> I already KNOW they can't in fact... their Operating Systems ALONE (Linux has 18 KNOWN security vulnerabilities as of today http://secunia.com/advisories/product/2719/ [secunia.com] , & MacOS X has 9 KNOWN security vulnerabilities http://secunia.com/advisories/product/96/?task=advisories [secunia.com] as of today also, with REMOTE VULNERABILITIES ON THE APPLE OS THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR MORE THAN 1++ YEARS NOW TOO, NO LESS, UNPATCHED!... that's NOT including all the rest of what you'd need to do business out there today online or otherwise with software)...

So, "argue with the #'s" *NIX fanboys, & good luck - you'll NEED it... apk

Re:I, for one, AM saying EXACTLY that: How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35603324)

Um, Secunia lumps all versions of Mac OS X as one thing: from its release in 2001 to the present. An unpatched vulnerability in OS X is not an unpatched vulnerability in the current version.

Another interesting thing about Secunia: for Apple, they report any vulnerabilities they can find. For Microsoft, they only report Microsoft-acknowledged vulnerabilities. If Microsoft doesn't admit to a vulnerability, then it doesn't exist, right?

Let's see what people outside of Redmond have to say recently about Windows 7, shall we?
Pwn2Own 2011: IE8 on Windows 7 hijacked with 3 vulnerabilities [zdnet.com]
RSAC 2011: Windows 7 vulnerabilities show need for kernel control [thetechherald.com]
Patch Tuesday: Gaping security hole in Windows Media Player [zdnet.com]
Windows security hole gives anyone access to computer without logging into User Account [thewindowsclub.com]
Windows still unpatched security hole [withss.com]
partial list of current exploits for Windows 7 [cvedetails.com]

How stupid do YOU feel, now? See inside (too easy) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35603552)

"Um, Secunia lumps all versions of Mac OS X as one thing: from its release in 2001 to the present. An unpatched vulnerability in OS X is not an unpatched vulnerability in the current version." - by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, @04:01PM (#35603324)

Oh, really?

Then WHY are YOU doing that to Windows in your "lists" below then??

Pot calling the Kettle Black??? Appears so.

---

To wit:

"Pwn2Own 2011: IE8 on Windows 7 hijacked with 3 vulnerabilities" - by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, @04:01PM (#35603324)

This one MADE ME LAUGH THE MOST THOUGH... on the "pwn2own 2011" contest? Guess what OS was "First to fall"? That's right... MacOS X! See below...

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/safarimacbook-first-to-fall-at-pwn2own-2011/8358 [zdnet.com]

I also showed IE9 has ZERO known vulnerabilities currently, & used IE9, which has NO KNOWN security vulnerabilities... so WHY are you using OLDER models in IE8?

---

"Windows still unpatched security hole" - by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, @04:01PM (#35603324)

That's fixed by a Microsoft "FIX IT" tool (for MHTML 'bug'), so what was your "point" here?

---

"RSAC 2011: Windows 7 vulnerabilities show need for kernel control" - by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, @04:01PM (#35603324)

You ought to LEARN TO READ your 'sources' buddy... this one's invalid for anyone that uses Windows 7 or VISTA for the MOST part (as most folks do NOT run as "Administrator" by default, & Windows even sets it up that way by default in modern versions):

To wit from your article? See this quote:

"Zheng's vulnerability is only valid for protected administrator accounts with default UAC settings"

(so much for THAT too)

APK

P.S.=> As I stated in my subject-line above? That was just "too, Too, TOO EASY - just '2EZ'" & not all your "Spin-CON-Troll" b.s. can fool people like myself that actually READ... unlike yourself (see above after all, the proofs in your OWN articles no less)... lol! apk

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597076)

It's the MS shill again, with a new account created the minute the story was posted.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597102)

It's the Apple/OSS shill again, with a AC box clicked the minute the story was posted.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597364)

Really? Do you not think it would be a bit subtler and more professional if was actually a professional being paid to write that post?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597838)

I bet he thinks he's being subtle. He has been getting better sometimes, but now that we know to expect it, it's going to stay pretty obvious. I won't be able to take any new users seriously for a while..

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597988)

It could be some elborate troll, no way to know one way or the other for sure I guess.

But I think it's pretty obvious when someone's first post on Slashdot is actually the first post to a story and argues in favor of WP7 as well as having the account created right when the story was, and then immediately getting modded up informative when there were only 3 posts... the pattern seems hard to miss. Shills aren't always good at their jobs. You have to remember it's likely some lackey at a PR firm hired by MS to be an "influencer in social media." Engadget was overrun by these kinds of trolls.

Anyways, not that it matters but I'm not the same AC who pointed it out in the past. Some story a few days(?) ago a different AC had several links showing this happening repeatedly and it was pretty damning evidence. Personally I'm posting AC because it does me no good to get dragged down in some PR drama. But I do hope the AC with the links responds -- I'm too lazy to look them up.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597106)

I burn my old smart phones (literally) it's the only way I can know that the data is really gone.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598136)

You know, you could disassemble them and just burn the flash chips rather than the whole phone.

I've never let go of a smartphone yet, I've only had one and it's still here. If I do, though, this is the route I'll go.

I despise the necessity but it's not my fault. If the SIM had enough storage for more than a number and a partial name then I would have stored all my numbers in it.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599084)

I blend them in the blendtech at the office. far better than your burning.

The great fun is watching the co-workers complain about the taste of their smoothies for the next month after I blended a phone...

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35604658)

You fool. Nuking it from orbit is the only way to be sure.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

alt236_ftw (2007300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597108)

I don't know about the WM7 implementation, but multiple times overwriting is hit and miss on flash media due to the wear levelling algorithm.
Unless the chip directly supports it, multiple overwrites simply spread the writes on different sectors.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35599568)

If you actually do a flash erase you do not really need a multiple write. Toshiba and others in the industry state that there is no real way of decoding the previous level from the current level on the cell. This was true back when they were using much larger geometries and only SLC. With MLC and incredibly tiny geometry I would assume it is effectively impossible to deal with.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35603462)

True... if you zero all memory in a solid block, it is effectively gone; no need to rewrite. If you zero only some memory, the wear leveling will kick in, and you might not actually have cleared the bits you meant to clear.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597116)

Yeah, wiping an iPhone is so hard. I mean you've got to go to Settings -> General -> Reset and then tap on "Erase all content and settings".

Can you believe they made it that hard? It's just terrible!

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597328)

Yes it is easy but it is hardly secure.

That's the Apple way.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599108)

OMG!!!! you have to do all that!!?!?!?!

Windows 7 phone wipes it for you at random!

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

dmmiller2k (414630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35600406)

Windows 7 phone wipes it for you at random!

Not totally random, my friend with one discovered the hard way. It takes a vigorous shake of the phone followed by a wiping motion with screen pressure.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597120)

Actually it's trivially easy to wipe an iPhone. Dunno about Android, though I assume they have the same feature, but on an you can set up an iPhone to self wipe after four failed PIN attempts. That's right, if for some reason you can't figure out who to use the large "reset to factory default condition" button in iTunes, you can turn on the PIN function and force it to wipe itself after four failed attempts. But hey, it's a lot easier to bash products you know nothing about than to actually post accurate information.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

devboys (2025058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597144)

The story is about securely wiping the device so that it doesn't leave even deleted data behind. iPhone doesn't support that.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599342)

What evidence do you have the iPhones (or Android phones for that matter) still have accessible data after a wipe? I've not heard this before. Regardless, the article is *not* about "securely" wiping the phone. It's about people foolishly trying to manually wipe a phone and missing stuff. Given that this is the only story you've *ever* commented on, and the fact that you're clearly spining facts, I'm inclined to believe the AC above who accuses you of being an astroturfer.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597152)

Its rather easy on Android, Boot into recovery and do a factory reset. remove the sd card and your phone is clean.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35599230)

Sure!

Because it's *so* obvious that the "delete" function should be hiding inside something called *Recovery* --the secret boot option non-modders on slashdot don't know about except after forum searches... let alone the random Joe Average that gives up hope after painstakingly being deceived by the lack of a reset option in the GUI.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597560)

Writing multiple times is not the issue. The issue is that "delete" doesn't overwrite at all, it just removes the pointer to the data. The data is still retrievable in the same way as undelete has worked since DOS was on floppies.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (2)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597846)

Maybe they should do like the iPhone then. Encrypt everything by default and when you're done with it it erases the private key - all data unreadable in under a second. I don't know where GP comes from that Apple can't but Apple is the ONLY device besides the newer Androids and some old BB's that has it and does it reliably/remotely. Many businesses actually choose iPhone over other devices (even Windows) because of the Enterprise features.

How much does Microsoft pay you to shill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597832)

'Cause if they're not paying you, then you're just an idiot.

And if they are paying you, you could try to be a little more subtle. And also to make arguments that actually make sense.

Microsoft makes products that are "thought over and secure?" Really?

Here's just one of the hundreds of questions that come to mind: Are there any viruses that run on Microsoft products? How many? Ten? Ten thousand? Ten million? I'm not even close yet, am I?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598446)

iPhones, especially the iPhone 4, have a decent erase mechanism which allows for a secure method of zeroing it out. When the device is told to erase itself, it just zeroes out the master key and replaces it with another from a cryptographically secure RNG. This is a quick, but secure way of ensuring that the data on the device is rendered inaccessible.

Just to be safe, if I were packaging an iPhone up for resale, after doing an erase from the Settings menu, I would do a DFU restore of the firmware as well, especially if the device was jailbroken before.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35603480)

Wasn't there a recent article on /. explaining how it was almost impossible to delete the data from flash ram?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

qubezz (520511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35608128)

Wasn't there a recent article on /. explaining how it was almost impossible to delete the data from flash ram?

I have proof there wasn't.

The entire flash storage on these devices is encrypted. The keys used to decrypt the drive on the fly, also stored on flash, can be overwritten quickly. Everything else on the drive looks like random numbers and 0s after the crypto keys are wiped.

Blackberry also securely wipes all user data if an incorrect unlock password is entered 10 (or fewer; configurable) times. The data leakage problem is mostly non-smart phones, where no mechanism is provided to wipe all the data. Not only contacts, but notes, calendar dates, and other PDA-type personal information can be entered into these phones. One would have to go into every application and manually delete every individual appointment, etc. to resell, and then you just hope you found everything.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598484)

Best troll on /. - creates a new account for every MS story. Bravo.

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599058)

HUH? I can completely wipe a iphone in 12 seconds, android phone even faster. do you even know what you are talking about?

Re:manufactuers and telcos fault again (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599872)

I guess they do that because they don't make any money from you selling your phone second hand. This is especially true for iPhones and Android. Are Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 really the only phones that have complete wipe feature built-in?

iPhones have wipe capability as well - there's a standard option in the settings menu for it. This I think was an option since iOS 3 which added Exchange support (where it also adds remote-wipe capability)

http://www.tuaw.com/2009/08/23/dont-forget-to-wipe-your-iphones-data/ [tuaw.com]

And yes, it takes that long because it's doing a full wipe. Which can leave your iPhone in a bad state, too, requiring an iTunes restore (which repartitions, reformats and installs the OS again).

I would assume Android devices have a similar feature, though I think it was limited to just a simple clear all data by reformatting the user disk.

The phones most likely to contain personal information would be the old dumbphones or featurephones which often don't have interfaces to do it other than manually going through and deleting one by one.

Half of people still idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597038)

Well, half is being generous.

chosen ones have to surveil each other? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597080)

yes. it's all a rouse, butt the minions think (after they were told not to) they won't get tagged, so long as they're tagging anybody/everybody. it's like a bounty/pyramid scheme. just #s. ask ANYBODY in the exploding/drowning etc.. 'other' 1/2 of the world, as if that's really needed?

so must they then surveil themselves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597164)

the ultimate final insult. yes, & they're expected to report (don't ask to who?) so much as an unapproved thought. another failed equation aspect of being a chosen one, is that they're frequently lead to believe they are entitled to survive, even theirselves, to carry on the depopulation teachings of the georgia stone. yikes

chosen ones; lacking conscience/boundaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597340)

being the unchosen, we're stuck with 'the sky's the limit', 'thou shalt not' & endless blah blah blah about what we NEED. on & on it goes.

same crowd (chosen ones) does stand-up comedy routines/sports events/eugenics, while supplying the hardware etc... to implement the scheduled deaths of 1000's each day now, primarily for depopulation, & money. movies? sci-fi? hitler? how many days did he stay working (stand-up, with a pension for fearmongering/killing people)? conscience?

Re:chosen ones have to surveil each other? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597182)

I want whatever it is you're smoking.

Manually? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597142)

Erasing things manually?

When I gave my old phone to my mother, I went into setup and selected "factory reset". That's it, phone wiped. I then took out the SIM card, with my contact list, and moved it to my new phone, and put her SIM card into the phone instead.

That was a Samsung SGH-Z500, but as far as I know, every phone I've had has had a factory reset option. I even used it several times on my old Nokia 9110 company phone, although for other reasons (you'd think that phone was running Windows ME).

Re:Manually? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597162)

The story is not about a factory reset. It's about secure wiping a phone.

Re:Manually? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610550)

Erasing things manually?

When I gave my old phone to my mother, I went into setup and selected "factory reset". That's it, phone wiped.

Thank you for perfectly illustrating the problem described by the article; your phone was not wiped.

what i do is (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597230)

i bought a cellphone 3 years ago, and i will continue using it until it breaks, then i will smash it with an 8 pound sledge hammer against an anvil until it is a shredded pulp, then i will sweep up the pieces and put it in the trash, good luck trying to get any info off of it after that...

So.... (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597238)

So, anyone got a phone I can have? I promise to whipe it

Re:So.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599170)

could you promise to spell correctly instead?

Re:So.... (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35601322)

Thts juhst owt uv tha kwestyun

Wiping should not be needed (5, Insightful)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597276)

The main problem here isn't that people aren't deleting their data, it's that phones don't come with block-level or at least filesystem-level encryption for all data by default. If you're marketing something to everyone, including the idiots, you should make it idiot-proof.

Re:Wiping should not be needed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597618)

If you're marketing something to everyone, including the idiots, you should make it idiot-proof.

If you make something idiot-proof, the world will make a better idiot.

Re:Wiping should not be needed (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35604744)

That's maybe a bit funny, but I cannot imagine why it is marked insightful.

Re:Wiping should not be needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597760)

Encryption is only effective if you require the user to enter a pass phrase every time he needs access. That won't get through usability QA.

Re:Wiping should not be needed (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597936)

> Encryption is only effective if you require the user to enter a pass phrase every time he needs access.

That's not how you would use encryption here.

You would encrypt most of the desk with a randomly-generated key stored in the unencrypted part.
When the user of the phone then selects "Delete Everything!", you generate a new key and overwrite
the old. That really will get rid of the old data.

mandatory wipe option (2)

mango9 (159959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597278)

How about a fairly accessible mandatory wipe option being required in new models? Might require SIM to be taken out first. Not too hard surely. Probably easier to do in Europe though ... cell phone companies would need pushing.

The easy way (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597408)

If your data is stored on chip or CDs, just nuke it. All it takes is a solid 10 seconds in the microwave ~ on high. Of course, I bare no responsibility for any toxic fumes that may be released. You've been warned.

Re:The easy way (1)

RooftopActivity (1991792) | more than 3 years ago | (#35602782)

Hi Welcome to my auction.

You are bidding on an AS NEW IPHONE4.

This iPhone is in the original box, with all cables, and has been FULLY restored back to factory settings. Rest assured, there will be no private data on this device.

The screen is melted, and most of the circuitry has disintegrated. All this for a $0.99 starting price!

Happy bidding.

The telcos like to lock down phones and cut out (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597610)

The telcos like to lock down phones and cut out apps from the manufacturers

What a ridiculous exaggeration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597676)

Firstly, "personal information" does not imply a significant risk of fraud. There's lots of "personal information" which is either easy enough for anyone to obtain (names, addresses, dates of birth) or very unlikely to be of any use to a fraudster (the photographs, for example). Secondly, by leaving information on a phone you are making it available to approximately one other person, who probably isn't a criminal. The risk here is tiny compared with other things people do every day. Sure, I'd wipe my phone, but I'd still sell it even if I couldn't wipe it properly.

Restore factory settings is not easy (2)

joeflies (529536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597836)

When you look at most phones (especially the pre-smart phone units), there are not easy ways to wipe it back to factory settings. There's no easy way to check if "wipe factory settings" really deleted the data or just removed pointers to the data. There is no sim to pull. And thus, there's no obvious way for the average consumer to dispose of their personal information other than to destroy the phone itself.

My CAR contains personal info! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597902)

I bought my latest (used) car just over a year ago. It has a bluetooth handsfree system built in.

Imagine my surprise when I tried to call home one day to find that i was hearing a stranger's voice on the answering machine! Apparently the previous owner programmed her "Home" number into the car itself rather than accessing the address book from her device.

I still have not figured out how to delete the entry!

Re:My CAR contains personal info! (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598394)

RFTM seriously every car manual tells you the steps to do just that.

This is slashdot you should know it anyways.

It is also why i never program numbers into the car, I pick up the phone dial whom I want and let the handsfree take over.

Re:My CAR contains personal info! (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598844)

So, did you ask her out?

Lost or stolen (1)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597930)

C'mon, the answer is simply 'half of all phones are lost/found or stolen'. That's why the 'owners' don't care.

Who sells their SIM card? (1)

McPierce (259936) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598176)

Why would you sell your SIM card? That's what the buyer needs to get from the carrier in order to activate the phone. If you sell your SIM card then it's not a case of data loss but an ignorant person.

I Have To Join In (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35598348)

...With the chorus of responses above. Every time I get a new phone I have to go through a goddamn voodoo ritual of clicking around on Google for a couple of hours trying to figure out where the phone manufacturer and/or the original carrier of the phone decided to hide, password protect, lock out, or otherwise attempt to obscure the method for doing a "master reset" or full wipe of the phone's data. I think in the USA this problem is compounded by the ubiquity of contract phones -- non-nerds can basically only buy a cell phone from a service provided, tied to that service provider in this country -- and it's common practice for cell carriers to lock out, password, and hide features of their phones in their BS custom firmware (Which also probably locks you out of firmware updates from the manufacturer, at least on basic "dumb" phones. Oh, and it has a thirty-second slideshow animation complete with irritating jingle and the carrier's logo that plays when you power on and off, which can't be silenced or skipped.). Apparently they do this to force users to buy games and ringtones through them at exorbitant cost instead of just hooking up a USB cable and copying some MP3's/Java Apps from their PC, but this causes other problems like tucking the Master Reset option in a damn maintenance menu that's locked with a password that only the cell phone company is supposed to know. And sometimes they do other fun things like disabling Bluetooth file transfer, disabling tethering, disabling local video playback, etc., etc.

This is a practice that needs to stop. This article is just another example of why.

Re:I Have To Join In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35604584)

Regretfully, this is the outcome when business is allowed to grow without restriction, and when government is prevented from interfering. (Because we like small government here, and hate your big, "communist" EU to the east.)

Most people here believe that big government is inherently bad - that they will be taxed more should they ever become filthy rich. Unfortunately, only a tiny percentage will ever be filthy rich ... the majority would have benefited from bigger government (cheaper health, education, food, etc).

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35598420)

... and practically none of the phone's previous owners care. Some people have better things to worry about.

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