[LINK] Your mobile secrets uncovered

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Mon Oct 6 16:03:12 EST 2008

Looks like a sledgehammer's the only way:

> *Millions of phones are lost and discarded with their personal data 
> every year ...
> *
> It's almost impossible for the average person to wipe a mobile phone 
> clean: unlike a PC, which has an open architecture, mobile phones are 
> closed books in terms of where data resides.
> ... we very quickly create intensely personal relationships with these 
> devices. Just how personal those relationships can be was shown by one 
> BlackBerry recovered in Australia.
> It revealed its owner, a businessman, lived in an upmarket part of 
> Sydney. It also contained the details of his various businesses, 
> including bids and contracts under negotiations, uncomplimentary 
> comments about employees, an extensive list of contacts and a complete 
> log of phone calls and diary commitments.
> It even held extensive and lurid exchanges with his mistress.
> ... The problem is very few of us take any care to secure them against 
> loss or theft.
> During the next few years, the phone industry hopes to tempt us with 
> new devices that will be able to hold huge amounts of information, 
> while the financial services industry aims to turn mobiles into 
> payment devices that incorporate credit cards. Nearly all of them are 
> designed so they can be linked to a computer to exchange and back up 
> data or music. When they do, virtually by default, they will exchange 
> information from your address book and your diary.
> ... Two years ago Communications-Electronics Security Group, the 
> technical wing of the British Government's eavesdropping organisation, 
> Government Communications Headquarters, which is responsible for 
> advising the government on technology vulnerabilities, was privately 
> briefing that mobile phones cannot be wiped.
> "The life expectancy of a mobile device is only slightly longer than 
> that of a butterfly," he says. "People only hold on to their own 
> phones for around 12 months; corporate devices go for 24 months. But 
> when they are finished, the devices are not generally considered to 
> have any intrinsic value to the organisation. When they reach the end 
> of their effective life, they do not appear to be given any 
> consideration with regard to the data that they may still contain."
> Do you know where your last mobile phone is now?
> And whether it was wiped clean before you got rid of it?

David Boxall                    |  In a hierarchical organization,
                                |  the higher the level,
                                |  the greater the confusion.
                                |                     --Dow's Law.

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