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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Cell Phone Toxins and the Harmful Effects on the Human Body When Recycled Improperly

When cell phones are improperly recycled or end up in landfills, it ultimately causes negative effects to nearly every system in the human body. Mobile phones contain harmful toxins including lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chlorine and bromine, which can leak into the groundwater and bioaccumulate in the food chain causing detrimental damage to the soil, water supply, vegetation, animals and humans.

Lead is found in a wide variety of cell phone components including the circuit boards, batteries and as a stabilizer in PVC products. Lead exposure can cause damage to the reproductive, blood and nervous systems.

Mercury is used in the cell phone’s battery, crystal displays and circuit boards. A single cell phone contains up to 2 grams of mercury. Mercury exposure contributes to brain and kidney damage.

Arsenic is found in the microchips of many electronic devices including mobile phones. In high doses, arsenic poisoning is lethal. Low levels of exposure cause negative impacts on skin, liver, nervous and respiratory systems.

Cadmium is used in the battery of a cell phone. It is associated with deficits in cognition, learning, behavior and neuromotor skills in children. It has also been linked to kidney damage.

Chlorine is a component of plastics used in cell phones, specifically polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC makes up about 30% of the cell phone. Exposure to improperly disposed ­­­­chlorine causes tissue damage and the destruction of cell structure.

Bromine is a component in a group of fire retardant chemicals known as brominated flame retardants. It is associated with cognitive and developmental deficits. Studies have shown that bromine contributes to the disruption in the thyroid hormone balance, brain damage and cancer.

E-waste accounts for 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream and continues to rise by 3 to 5 percent each year, increasing the amount of harmful toxins leaked into our ecosystem. To stop this deadly trend, businesses and individuals need to recycle used cell phones and other electronics only with e-Stewards certified recyclers to ensure their toxic e-waste does not end up in a landfill. e-Stewards is the globally recognized gold standard for responsible electronics recycling.

Due to a lack of legislation in the U.S. prohibiting the export of e-waste, utilizing an e-Stewards certified electronics recycling company is one of the only ways to make certain electronic devices are recycled responsibly and not exported overseas. Visit www.e-Stewards.org to learn more about the e-Stewards Standard and to find a list of e-Stewards certified electronics recyclers.

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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: Five Common Mistakes to Avoid when Creating a BYOD Policy

With bring your own device (BYOD) programs exploding worldwide, enterprises are searching for the perfect solution for managing and securing employee-liable devices. Implementing a BYOD policy is tricky because each program must be customized to meet the specific needs for each company and there is no catch-all solution. As a global leader in the mobile buyback and recycling industry, e-Cycle shares five common BYOD mistakes that can lead to disgruntled workers, lower productivity as well as higher costs and mobile security headaches.

1. No Policy or Monitoring
BYOD’s major strength is the flexibility it lends to employees; however, businesses must be prepared for the liability that accompanies it. Creating a BYOD policy with specific guidelines for who owns the data, device and software, how the expenses are distributed and what happens to the device when it is lost or stolen will help to avoid legal matters and protect your company.

2. Excessive Mobile Security
Multiple passwords, remote device wipes and location trackers are important features to protect mobile data, but requiring over-the-top security features will leave employees soured on BYOD. Instead, search for solutions that enhance productivity and increase employee satisfaction, while still protecting sensitive mobile data. But be careful, restoring factory settings and remote wiping is not a guarantee of data removal. Often times sensitive information still remains on wireless devices including names, contact information, pin numbers, emails and even photos. A shocking study revealed confidential information was found on devices purchased on eBay.

3. Too Few Options
BYOD was intended to empower employees with the ability to choose the devices and apps they want. A program that is too limited may lower company morale and cause employees to develop their own workarounds to utilize the apps they prefer, which increases the likelihood of a breach. Give your employees enough options to boost productivity and create a positive output for the company.

4. Too Many Options
Managing mobile business data through numerous devices and carriers can quickly become a nightmare for an enterprise’s IT or mobility department. BYOD is meant to be beneficial to both the business and the employee. Offering three to four mainstream devices will please employees and allow the IT/mobility department to effectively manage mobile security, creating applications and troubleshooting. Be wary of devices and applications that are known to be traps for malware.

5. Not Thinking it Through
As the newest mobile trend, many companies are diving head first into BYOD without thinking the process through. Enterprises need to ensure that BYOD makes sense for the needs of the company and employees. BYOD can save businesses money; however, there are often hidden expenses that accompany this new trend like software licensing, mobile security, device management and regulatory compliance. These are all expenses that need to be considered when deciding to make the switch to BYOD.

6. Partner with a Trusted Mobile Buyback and Recycling Company
Encourage or mandate that your employees discard their used personally-owned devices securely and responsibly by utilizing a trusted wireless buyback and recycling company that has proven processes for data deletion. There are numerous consumer buyback companies that claim data protection, however, provide poor data security processes and unsecure facilities. Discourage employees from selling their used mobile devices on eBay and Craigslist.

Vetting and recommending a secure and proven mobile buyback and recycling partner to compensate your employees while protecting their sensitive data and the environment is critical to help negate data breaches and to protect your corporate reputation. Additionally, utilize e-Stewards® certified electronics recyclers who are rigorously audited each year to ensure they uphold globally-recognized standards for data security, environmental protection and worker safety.

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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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