PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you’ve ever sold or discarded an old smartphone and erased all of the data beforehand – you may not have gone far enough. A cyber-security firm warns that just because you’ve deleted the information, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone forever.
Christian Hicks, president of phone recycler Elysium Digital, said 130 million phones are discarded every year. He and his partner, Jason Eaddy, bought dozens of old phones online and found that many were still loaded with personal information.
“We recovered photos, contact information, calendar entries, emails, text messages, financial information, passwords,” said Hicks.
With a special computer, the firm can pull up data – even information that was wiped from a discarded phone.
Newer versions of the iPhone and the latest Android devices will thoroughly delete data, but Hicks said older models may not – which is why he’ll never throw away a smart phone.
“I keep them in a safe place,” he said.
If the touch screen of your phone is broken and the phone can’t be used, that doesn’t mean the data can’t be accessed. The experts recommend following all the manufacturer’s directions to completely erase information from your phone.