Data Erasure 101: Hidden Areas On Your Phone That Your Data May Exist

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Data Erasure 101: Hidden Areas On Your Phone That Your Data May Exist

data erasure

What if you were told that bits and pieces of data hiding on your smartphone form a bunch of digital fingerprints that are as unique as your real fingerprints? While this is a real scenario, the problem is that personal info that escapes your notice may, if you’re not careful, fall into the wrong hands.

If you sell, trade, or donate your smartphone and you’re unaware of hidden areas on your mobile device where personal data may exist, these pictures and maps may end up exposed. Want to know about some of these hidden – and some not so hidden – areas on your phone? Read on to find about potentially at-risk data as well as how data erasure can help.

Say “Cheese”

Consider research showing that hidden mobile device data can basically transform your pictures into digital fingerprints. The technology underpinning smartphone cameras has advanced to the point where it’s actually possible for digital forensic professionals to tell which camera took which picture. The reason for this is that every image you snap with your smartphone camera actually emits a one-of-a-kind sound that can be traced back to the camera unit that took the picture. This slightly erie fact is an example of why a proper data erasure procedure is important.

Maps

If you’re like many smartphone users, you use your mobile device’s GPS function to get directions from one point to the next, to find out what eateries are in close vicinity, and even to find cinemas playing the lastest Hollywood blockbusters. But you may not realize that, unless you erase this information, it will remain on your phone where anyone who accesses it will be able to easily figure out your past whereabouts and location searches. If you use Google Maps, you can easily delete your search history. There should be a similar option on just about any GPS app you use.

SD Cards

You might be surprised how easy it is to forget about a phone’s SD card, but this can get you into trouble if you part with your phone without first extracting it. Phones don’t typically allow users to save all that much, which is why SD cards can be so handy. And while it’s okay to save data to your SD card, you need to erase it or simply remove it altogether from your smartphone if you will be ditching it. Similarly, remove your phone’s SIM card, which is regarded as “the brain” of your device. There’s no reason to leave that in if you sell, trade, or donate your phone. Take it out and either reuse it or destroy it to protect your data.

Browser Search

This is more a case of hiding something in plain sight since it’s easy to overlook. If you’re not careful, someone could glean a great deal of information about you just by going through your mobile browser history. It’s easy to wipe clean your search history, but remembering to do so can be the tricky part. Nonetheless, it’s  an important part of protecting personal data when you’re getting rid of your smartphone.

Social Media Chat Logs

Don’t forget the chat logs on your social media accounts. Like many others, you likely have social media apps on your smartphone. If this is the case, there’s a chance that some of this data could be retrievable unless you’re careful and use the right data erasure strategy to ensure that verifies that chat logs are permanently erased.

The Solution…Data Erasure

Before letting go of your smartphone, you’ll want to do a thorough data erasure to ensure that any data on the device is gone for good. Unfortunately, conducting a piecemeal erasure job won’t protect fully. This is because there are free apps available that can be used to, in some cases, resurrect things like pictures that you may have deleted via a factory reset.

The sort of device you have and even the model of the device in question will determine what steps you ultimately take for proper data erasure protocol. If you follow the steps applicable to your smartphone, you’ll more likely than not be able to rest easy after trading, selling, or giving away your mobile device.

Another way you can guarantee data erasure is to find a reputable third-party to perform data erasure services. In turn, you will receive a mobile device certification that guarantees that your smartphone has been restored to the state it was in before it was first sold.

Keep these “hidden” data areas on your phone in mind as you use your phone, especially if you will eventually part with the mobile device and move onto something else. By being mindful about common mistakes and misconceptions as well as by adopting good data erasure measures, you can easily keep your personal data safe and maintain your peace of mind.

What if you were told that bits and pieces of data hiding on your smartphone form a bunch of digital fingerprints that are as unique as your real fingerprints? While this is a real scenario, the problem is that personal info that escapes your notice may, if you’re not careful, fall into the wrong hands.

If you sell, trade, or donate your smartphone and you’re unaware of hidden areas on your mobile device where personal data may exist, these pictures and maps may end up exposed. Want to know about some of these hidden – and some not so hidden – areas on your phone? Read on to find about potentially at-risk data as well as how data erasure can help.

Say “Cheese”

Consider research showing that hidden mobile device data can basically transform your pictures into digital fingerprints. The technology underpinning smartphone cameras has advanced to the point where it’s actually possible for digital forensic professionals to tell which camera took which picture. The reason for this is that every image you snap with your smartphone camera actually emits a one-of-a-kind sound that can be traced back to the camera unit that took the picture. This slightly erie fact is an example of why a proper data erasure procedure is important.

Maps

If you’re like many smartphone users, you use your mobile device’s GPS function to get directions from one point to the next, to find out what eateries are in close vicinity, and even to find cinemas playing the lastest Hollywood blockbusters. But you may not realize that, unless you erase this information, it will remain on your phone where anyone who accesses it will be able to easily figure out your past whereabouts and location searches. If you use Google Maps, you can easily delete your search history. There should be a similar option on just about any GPS app you use.

data erasure

SD Cards

You might be surprised how easy it is to forget about a phone’s SD card, but this can get you into trouble if you part with your phone without first extracting it. Phones don’t typically allow users to save all that much, which is why SD cards can be so handy. And while it’s okay to save data to your SD card, you need to erase it or simply remove it altogether from your smartphone if you will be ditching it. Similarly, remove your phone’s SIM card, which is regarded as “the brain” of your device. There’s no reason to leave that in if you sell, trade, or donate your phone. Take it out and either reuse it or destroy it to protect your data.

Browser Search

This is more a case of hiding something in plain sight since it’s easy to overlook. If you’re not careful, someone could glean a great deal of information about you just by going through your mobile browser history. It’s easy to wipe clean your search history, but remembering to do so can be the tricky part. Nonetheless, it’s  an important part of protecting personal data when you’re getting rid of your smartphone.

Social Media Chat Logs

Don’t forget the chat logs on your social media accounts. Like many others, you likely have social media apps on your smartphone. If this is the case, there’s a chance that some of this data could be retrievable unless you’re careful and use the right data erasure strategy to ensure that verifies that chat logs are permanently erased.

data erasure

The Solution…Data Erasure

Before letting go of your smartphone, you’ll want to do a thorough data erasure to ensure that any data on the device is gone for good. Unfortunately, conducting a piecemeal erasure job won’t protect fully. This is because there are free apps available that can be used to, in some cases, resurrect things like pictures that you may have deleted via a factory reset.

The sort of device you have and even the model of the device in question will determine what steps you ultimately take for proper data erasure protocol. If you follow the steps applicable to your smartphone, you’ll more likely than not be able to rest easy after trading, selling, or giving away your mobile device.

Another way you can guarantee data erasure is to find a reputable third-party to perform data erasure services. In turn, you will receive a mobile device certification that guarantees that your smartphone has been restored to the state it was in before it was first sold.

Keep these “hidden” data areas on your phone in mind as you use your phone, especially if you will eventually part with the mobile device and move onto something else. By being mindful about common mistakes and misconceptions as well as by adopting good data erasure measures, you can easily keep your personal data safe and maintain your peace of mind.