Many people in Saudi Arabia change their mobile phones as often as once a year, according to Google’s Saudi Arabia Connected Consumer Survey.
However, few give thought to disposing their old phones in the proper manner, exposing themselves to data theft.
“Today, mobile devices store far more sensitive data than users realize, often more than their personal computers,” says Ned Baltagi, Managing Director, Middle East & Africa at SANS. “This information can include where they live, work and the places they visit frequently, contact information for their friends, family and co-workers, messages, web-browsing history, personal photos, cloud storage and email; and even stored passwords and access to highly sensitive services such as online banking.”
If you’re planning to replace your phone by donating it, exchanging it for a new one, giving it to another family member, reselling it, or even throwing it out, you need to first make sure that you erase all the sensitive data. According to SANS Institute, here are the most important steps to safely dispose your mobile phone:
1. Wipe the device:
Simply deleting data is not enough because anyone can recover it. Instead, you need to ‘wipe’ your phone to make it unrecoverable. The easiest way is to use the “factory-reset” feature.
2. Get rid of SIMs or external memory cards:
In addition to storing data on the device itself, smartphones tend to save some information on the SIM which is not wiped out by the factory reset. It’s best to physically shred or destroy the card to prevent it from being reused. Many smartphones support external memory cards. Over time, these cards accumulate information such as pictures, application data, and other sensitive content