How to Protect the Private Data on Your iPhone

Modern smartphones house a gold mine of private information, from contacts and pin numbers to photographs and emails. Taking simple preventative measures while you own the device and choosing a secure cell phone buyback and recycling company when it is time to retire the device, is imperative to safeguarding your sensitive mobile data.

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Approximately 113 cell phones are lost or stolen every minute in the U.S.—that is 162,720 per day! To prevent your sensitive data from being accessed during use or in the event your cell phone is lost or stolen, consider taking the following simple mobile security measures:

1. Keep Security Software Current. Make sure your mobile device has the latest security software, web browser, and operating system installed.

2. Lock Your Phone. Use a password to lock your cell phone. Strong passwords are longer than five characters and contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You can change the normal four digit pin codes typically found on iPhones and other devices to accept more advanced security passwords.

3. Think Before You App. Review the privacy policy and understand what data (location, social networks, etc.) an app can access before downloading. Many times it is accessing the private information of your family, friends, and business contacts as well.

4. Get savvy about Wi‐Fi hotspots. Limit the type of business you conduct on your cell phone while connected to public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Knowledgeable criminals can access your private data without you knowing it. Stick to your 3G or 4G network when in public spaces.

5. Protect your Wallet.When banking and shopping, be sure the site is security enabled by looking for web addresses beginning with "https://" or "shttp://.” An "Http://" address is not secure and could expose your confidential credit card and banking information to thieves.

There are two crucial things you need to consider when choosing a mobile buyback and/or recycling company.

First, does the wireless recycling company make data security a priority? Find out if they test for active lines and perform data wipes beyond a simple factory reset. Many mobile phones have known vulnerabilities that cause residual data to remain on the device after a factory reset is performed. For example, after a factory reset is performed on an Android, photos and other personal information often remain on the device. Ensure your chosen recycler utilizes multi-step deletion processes and quality assurance checks when removing your data—especially if they purchased your phone for resale.

Second, are they e-Stewards certified? e-Stewards certified recyclers adhere to stringent data security and environmental standards for reusing and recycling electronic devices. They undergo extensive audits to guarantee none of their toxic e-waste is being exported overseas or sent to a landfill.

Taking these precautions during cell phone use and end-of-life management will protect your sensitive mobile data from ending up in the wrong hands. For additional mobile and cyber security tips, visit staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/.

Image: flickr, Steven Tom

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Paulie Anthony is the Marketing Director at <a href="http://www.e-cycle.com/">e-Cycle</a>, a mobile buyback and recycling company.