e-Cycle CEO Provides Organizations with Tips to Prevent Data Breaches When Selling used Apple iPhones® /iPads® and Recycling Mobile Devices
Without realizing it, organizations and businesses are trading in mobile devices that contain sensitive information. The chances for data loss are greater now as many look to upgrade to the new Apple iPhone 5.
Businesses and organizations seeking to upgrade to the iPhone 5 run the risk of inadvertently compromising sensitive internal information when they recycle their old mobile devices, according to e-Cycle LLC CEO Christopher Irion.
Irion noted that 95 percent of the used enterprise mobile phones and devices his company receives for recycling still contain important data, even though the organizations claim that they took the necessary steps to delete all pertinent information.
Sensitive information continues to reside in the phones due to human error during the deletion process and inadequate data wiping software that often does not clean the phones of all information. e-Cycle regularly receives supposedly clean devices that contain phone numbers, addresses, emails, hidden PINs and menus.
“It is profoundly clear that companies believe they effectively wipe their old mobile devices of confidential information before shipping them off for reuse or recycling,” said Christopher Irion, e-Cycle CEO. “The reality is mobile devices continue to contain sensitive data that pose security and liability risks of varying magnitudes. This little-known problem has the potential to increase exponentially as more companies take advantage of the iPhone 5 release to upgrade their mobile phones.”
If organizational data is exposed, it could cause irreparable harm, especially if financial or client information is leaked.
According to Irion, there are five ways companies can get the most money for their used iPhones and other mobile devices and ensure the data is safe:
• Work only with companies that are e-Stewards® and R2 certified and utilize third-party forensic auditors to validate data deletion processes. This ensures the recycler adheres to the highest data deletion procedures.
• Read your recycling partner’s terms and conditions. Although many recyclers claim that they safely remove data, most accept no responsibility for data deletion and state that it is the sole responsibility of the organization.
• Work with a recycling company that test for active phone lines. Active phones lines are commonly found on mobile devices sent for buyback or recycling. These devices pose a serious security risk.
• Be cautious of mobile buyback companies offering extremely high pricing – it is usually a bait and switch tactic. The vast majority of companies greatly reduce the quoted price once the device is received, citing minor cosmetic flaws such as dings and scratches in the housing, buttons or screens. Many will not return the devices once received, instead reselling the devices on eBay for a profit. There have been numerous instances of sensitive information found on mobile devices sold through eBay.
• Use e-Stewards certified mobile asset-recovery and recycling companies to ensure adherence to the highest environmental standards and safe disposal of phones that cannot be recycled. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 70 to 80 percent of electronics recyclers directly or indirectly ship broken devices, parts, batteries and wires to developing countries, where less-than-reputable companies use unethical methods to abstract precious metals and dispose of e-waste in toxic dumps and through open-acid baths and open-air burning.
e-Cycle helps organizations take a more responsible, secure and profitable approach to wireless recycling. The company collects wireless phones and tablet from enterprises, reimbursing them for devices that retain value and recycling all others at no charge. The information on every phone is either deleted or destroyed through rigorous, proprietary data security measures. More information is available at www.e-Cycle.com.