Over 50% Second-hand Phones Retain Personal Details

Research has found that over half of second-hand mobile phones retain important personal data of the original owner.

Advisory body CPP carried out the investigation and found 247 individual pieces of personal data on a number of mobile phones and SIM cards which had either been sold online or through second-hand electronics shops.

The information found included credit card Pin numbers, company information, login details to social networking sites, and bank details.

A survey conducted alongside the research found half of second-hand mobile owners discovered personal data from the former owners.

CPP's mobile data expert, Danny Harrison, said "This report is a shocking wakeup call and shows how mobile phones can inadvertently cause people to be careless with their personal data. With the rapid technology advancements in the smart-phone market and new models released by manufactures multiple times a year, consumers are upgrading their mobiles more than ever and it is imperative people take personal responsibility to properly manage their own data."

The best way to remove data from a SIM is simply to completely destroy it, according to Jason Hart who was commissioned by COO to carry out the experiment.

He advised users double checked all information had been removed before selling a device on. "With new technology does come new risks and our experiment found that newer smart-phones have more capabilities to store information and that information is much easier to recover than on traditional mobiles due to the increase of applications."

Symantec found that nearly two thirds of firms surveyed said they recognised the risk of insecure mobile devices connecting to company networks - up 13% from 2009.

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