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Thursday, August 31, 2006

A New Security Risk: Your Old Cell Phone

In Dufus Or Joe Job Victim?, we looked at an idiot who sold a laptop computer, and came to regret it. Amir probably deserved what came to him, but it doesn't mean that we shouldn't learn from his mistake.

So how about your cell phone? You may be surprised to learn that it's a small computer. It may have an amazing storage capacity, and what's stored there can cause you embarassment, if you give away, lose, or sell the phone. Apparently, what's stored on your cell phone can be resurrected, even if erased - just as the contents of your computers hard drive can be recovered.

CNN Technology: Cell phones won't keep your secrets discusses experiences where

Curious software experts resurrected information on 10 used phones (purchased on eBay), including the racy exchanges between guarded lovers, and
  • One company's plans to win a multimillion-dollar federal transportation contract.
  • E-mails about another firm's $50,000 payment for a software license.
  • Bank accounts and passwords.
  • Details of prescriptions and receipts for one worker's utility payments.
The recovered information was equal to 27,000 pages -- a stack of printouts 8 feet high.

"Most people toss their phones after they're done; a lot of them give their old phones to family members or friends," said Miro Kazakoff, a researcher at Compete Inc. of Boston who follows mobile phone sales and trends.

Think next time, before you give your old phone away.

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