Half of users leave sensitive data on eBayed phones

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By simply exchanging or recycling an old phone you could be handing over all your personal information, says a recent study.

There are reports that over half of second hand phones contained personal information from the previous owner. Banking details, photographs and emails are amongst the personal information that could be found on these phones.

Along with the ever increasing storage capacity in mobile phones, is the danger from identity fraud. There are concerns regarding the security of personal data, especially when it comes to the loss, theft or genuine discarding of such items.

Joe Nocera, an information security expert and a principle with PricewaterhouseCoopers voiced his concerns: “Many of the security concerns that people think about when they think about their personal computers are applicable in the mobile world.

As mobile devices become more sophisticated, they lend themselves to the same types of access to e-mail, passwords, and other secure information that PCs have done in the past.”

The life assistance company, CPP ran a study where researchers bought an assortment used phones and SIM cards. Results showed 247 pieces of data left on 19 of the 35 phones and 27 of the 50 SIM cards.

The information found included credit and debit card Pin numbers, bank account details, phone numbers and login details to social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

CPP say the purpose for the experiment was to find out what types of sensitive information had been left on resold handsets and SIMs, even if they had been assumed deleted.

The worrying thing is that four in five people claim to have wiped their mobiles before selling them and six in ten are confident they have removed all of their personal data, proving how difficult it can be with some phones to completely delete information.

Danny Harrison, CPP’s mobile data expert said “This report is a shocking wake-up call and shows how mobile phones can inadvertently cause people to be careless with their personal data.

“Consumers are upgrading their mobiles more than ever and it is imperative people take personal responsibility to properly manage their own data.”

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