Business | Technology

Hand over your digital device, not your life

How to make sure that no one can steal your personal info after you ditch your old phone

  • By Naushad K. Cherrayil, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 August 20, 2012
  • Gulf News

Picture for illustrative purposes only
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Just deleting files using normal system tools doesn’t really do the trick as hackers can recreate data using commonly available tools.

Dubai: Before you ditch or recycle your computer, smartphone or tablet, you need to make sure none of your data is retrievable otherwise it may come back from the past to haunt you.

Your personal devices essentially pack your entire life into a small package, including your contacts, emails, records of incoming and outgoing phone numbers, social media information and much more. So make sure that someone else can’t get access to all that information.

Just deleting files using normal system tools doesn’t really do the trick as hackers can recreate data using commonly available tools. You need to do a complete reset of your device to wipe out its data and restore it to its factory settings.

There are several ways to wipe personal data off gadgets.

Get a disk-wiping program, preferably one that meets the highest security standards. These programs will overwrite your entire hard disk with data multiple times, ensuring that the original data can’t be retrieved. If you use them, be patient, because it can take several hours to wipe the hard disk.

Before you delete your data or media card files, consider backing up these items so that you have a copy.

One well-known free application is Darok’s Boot and Nuke. The software creates a boot disk that wipes everything on the hard drive. It can also be used with USB flash drives, CDs and DVDs.Another free Windows utility that also meets the standards is Eraser.

If you’ve got an Apple Mac, you can use Apple’s built-in disk utility (it can be found in the Applications/Utility folder). You can also download a third-party application like Mireth Technology’s Shredit X, which lets you shred files as well as wipe your local hard drive, network hard drives and CD-RWs.

Once you’ve wiped your device clean, it’s safe to sell, donate or recycle your equipment.

In the case of an old cellphone, remove the SIM card first to disable the phone’s ability to connect to a cell provider network and remove personal information. Also, make sure to remove any expansion memory cards. Then:

iPhone:

1. Sync your iPhone with iTunes to back up your data for future use

2. Navigate to Settings -> General -> Reset

3. To reset all settings to factory defaults without deleting your music and contacts, choose “Reset All Settings”

4. For a complete wipe of all personal data from the iPhone select: “Erase All Content and Settings”

5. Confirm your selection when prompted

After the process is complete your private data is erased. If necessary you can reload your music and contacts by syncing the reset iPhone with iTunes.

BlackBerry:

If you have turned on encryption, the process for deleting all device data can take up to an hour to complete. You cannot stop the process after you start it. If you reset your device, the process restarts after the device restarts.

On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.

1. Click Security Options.

2. Click Security Wipe.

3. To delete data from the messages, contacts and other applications, select the emails, contacts check box.

4. To delete all third-party applications that you have added, select the User Installed Applications check box.

5. To delete all files from your media card, select the Media Card check box.

6. Type blackberry.

7. Click Wipe.

8. If you are preparing your device for resale and you have an email account that uses the BlackBerry® Internet Service, to prevent messages from this account from being sent to old mobile, contact your wireless service provider to disassociate the account from it.

 

Android:

The easiest way to wipe the data is choosing the “Factory Data Reset”. This will restore your device to the factory build settings by wiping all the data from the internal storage.

For earlier versions, press the Menu key from the Home screen and select Settings/Privacy/Factory data reset. You’ll get a warning screen. Scroll toward the bottom and tap “Reset phone.” If you also have an SD card in the phone (and don’t want to use the data in your next phone), also make sure to check the box next to “Erase SD card.”

For Android 4.0 or later, go to Settings and look for “Backup and reset”.

1. Move all the paid apps (if any) to your external storage so that you won’t need to buy them again.

2. Sync all your contacts with your Gmail account or install software PC suite and backup all your contact details.

3. Make a list of the apps which you would like to install after you complete the “Factory Data Reset”.

4. First to start with click on Menu –> Settings.

5. Scroll down and tap on ‘Privacy Settings’ or few phones may also need to check in ‘SD & Phone Storage’.

6. Now tap on ‘Factory Data Reset’ and in the next screen click on ‘Reset Phone’ to complete the process. You may also check ‘Format SD card’ for clearing data from external storage card.

 

Windows Phone:

1. 1. Go to the Home screen and select the Application Menu Key

2. 2. Select Settings/About/

3. 3. Tap the “Reset your phone” button.

 

Gulf News
Quick Access

  1. Markets

  2. Economy

  3. Property

  4. Aviation

Business Top Stories

  1. Sharjah to meet investors on sukuk

  2. Diamonds sparkle at gold’s expense

  3. Homes R Us to roll out the mat in Saudi Arabia

  4. Customer service is never just being courteous

  5. Brightly shines Abu Dhabi’s retail sector