Wireless Mobility Horror Story: Don’t Trust Your Data with Just Any Cell Phone Buyback and Recycling Company

Halloween is full of stories about ghouls and ghosts that send a shiver down your spine and make you keep the closet light on at night, but at e-Cycle, we’ve found that a data security breach is even more frightening for a business. The average mobile data breach last year accounted for loses exceeding $500,000 for large businesses and $100,000 for companies with less than 1,000 employees.

Many companies are unaware that a data breach can happen during end-of-life management. To recoup a business’ investment and protect the environment, it’s imperative that mobile technologies like cell phones and tablets are recycled. However, trusting just any recycler can compromise your sensitive data.

To prove the dangers associated with choosing the wrong recycler, we would like to share a true mobile security horror story that is sure to keep you up at night:

A few years ago JoAnn Bishop of Los Angeles received a refurbished cell phone. After synching her new phone to her computer, she noticed 300 additional contacts in her phonebook and someone else’s appointments on her calendar. As she continued to scour the phone she was horrified to find the same persons’ insurance information, credit card numbers, user names, passwords and pin codes in the notes section.

Being an honest person, she immediately returned the cell phone, and after being assured this was an isolated incident, she accepted a replacement device. Shockingly, this cell phone also came equipped with someone else’s personal information.

David Levi King and Bassem Megally were the original owners of these cell phones, respectively. Both later reported that they had deleted the information from their phones before turning them in.

King and Megally probably did try to delete the data on their cell phone by performing a factory reset. Unfortunately, factory resets leave data stored in cell phones’ hidden menus, which can cause irreparable harm to a business.

Partnering with a wireless buyback company that does not make data security a top priority is very scary. Practices that indicate a recycler provides exceptional data security include:

  • Testing for active phone lines – A serious data risk and results in unnecessary charges
  • e-Stewards certification – That have specific data security transparency requirements
  • Device-specific wiping processes – Both automated and manual
  • Quality assurance testing – To ensure all of the data has been removed
  • Third party, forensic auditing of sanitized devices – To validate their data removal processes
  • High security, lock down facilities and employee background screenings

Choosing a cell phone buyback vendor that provides these services will allow you to rest easier knowing your business will not be featured in e-Cycle’s next mobile security horror story.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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How to Protect the Private Data on Your Cell Phone

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

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 http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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Consumers Hesitant to Recycle and Resell Used Cell Phones

Nearly 60 percent of people who do not recycle used cell phones refrain from doing so because they don’t know where to recycle their devices or they don’t trust that the data will be destroyed, according to an online poll conducted by Earth911 for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

The poll was conducted on Earth911’s website from June 20 to September 9, 2013 and received responses from more than 900 individuals. The results support the findings of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s study that indicated only 25 percent of all household used electronics are recycled.

As consumers enthusiastically await the arrival their new Apple iPhone 5s or 5c, it is important to keep in mind the urgent need to responsibly sell and recycle old cell phones to protect their data and environment. For every 42 cell phones recycled, enough energy is saved to power an average household for an entire year.

Why Consumers Aren’t Recycling Their Cell Phones

According to the poll, 21 percent of respondents say they have not recycled their old mobile device because they keep it as a backup, while 20 percent say they just earth911 statisticshaven’t gotten around to it. Thirty percent indicated that they don’t know where to recycle their cell phone and 29 percent of respondents say they are worried about data security risks associated with recycling.

To ensure the personal data on your cell phone is protected, e-Cycle mobile buyback and recycling recommends consumers avoid selling their devices on eBay, Craiglist and to be very wary of online buyback companies or kiosks in shopping malls that offer to purchase used electronics devices. Often they provide no assurance of data deletion and have been known to resell wireless devices with private data still remaining. e-Cycle encourages consumers to only use electronics recyclers who do more than just a factory reset for data deletion, which does not remove all personal data. Residual personal data often remains, stored in hidden menus, even after a mobile phone has been brought back to factory settings. Be certain your recycler is doing more than a simple factory reset by asking questions and carefully reviewing their terms and conditions.

e-Cycle urges reluctant consumers to only sell or recycle their used mobile phones and tablets with an e-Stewards certified recycling company to ensure their data and the environment are protected. e-Stewards requires certified recyclers to adhere to the highest global standards of environmental protection and has stringent data security measures as part of its certification. e-Stewards certified recyclers are required to delete or destroy all the data from the devices they receive.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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e-Cycle BYOD Mobile Data Security Tips #4 – Keep Mobile Device Software Up-to-Date

As a global leader in the mobile buyback and recycling industry, e-Cycle is pleased to share the fourth video in our series of BYOD mobile data security risks and recommendations for organizations thinking of implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. These tips will help to secure your sensitive mobile data on individually-owned wireless devices.

e-Cycle BYOD Mobile Data Security Tips – #4 Keep Mobile Device Software Up to Date from e-Cycle LLC. on Vimeo.

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e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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