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Like thousands of people, I was given a new phone for Christmas – /news/christmas/index.html.
But rather than just recycle my old phone, I thought I would sell it.My device was in good condition — a relatively sophisticated iPhone – /sciencetech/iphone/index.html — and various websites suggested it would fetch £140.I removed the SIM card, the little computer chip which contains my phone number and other key information, because this would go into the new phone, and deleted all the data, such as my photographs and emails, along with social media and messaging applications like WhatsApp and Twitter – /sciencetech/twitter/index.html.
Or, so I thought.It turns out that buried in my old phone was a raft of personal information — all hugely valuable to any criminal, but catastrophic to me.‘I could even work out where you live,’ James Smith tells me casually.He is the man who — with my permission — hacked into my old phone, which I thought I had wiped completely clean.Head of penetration testing at Bridewell Consulting, a digital security company, Smith spent a day seeing what he could retrieve from my device.
‘It was relatively simple,’ he explains. Figures obtained by the Daily Mail suggest that a vast number of people are failing to adequately wipe their phones before selling them on the secondhand market‘It didn’t require any particular bit of kit.
This was using readily available tools that are either free or very cheap.’And, boy, what he found was eye-opening. He was able to obtain the password I used for a chess-playing app, which — embarrassingly for me — is the same password I use for various other, far more important, apps.‘That’s the jackpot for a hacker.
They will go through every online account, Facebook, Twitter, emails and “password spray”, seeing if that password works for any of them.‘The moment you get access to your email account, you can get hold of all sorts of things, and start phishing your contacts.’This is when a hacker would pose as me and retrieve, potentially, the bank account details of my friends and family. RELATED ARTICLES Previous – # 1 – # Next – # Hacker archives ALL of Parler’s deleted posts, photos and… – /news/article-9135785/Hacker-archives-Parlers-deleted-posts-photos-videos.html Fraudsters target the vulnerable with scam texts that link… – /news/article-9118495/Vaccine-fraudsters-target-vulnerable-scam-texts.html
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‘They’d be very easily able to impersonate you,’ says James. And it would be particularly easy in my case because all my contacts, along with their mobile phone numbers and emails, were accessible.I had sent off my phone after a report published a fortnight ago by The National Cyber Security Centre — part of GCHQ — implored consumers to be aware of how much data was now stored on their phones and the ‘importance of erasing this before selling so that it does not inadvertently fall into the hands of criminals’.I presumed this was a nannying piece of advice from a Government quango.
Far from it.Figures obtained by the Daily Mail suggest that a vast number of people are failing to adequately wipe their phones before selling them on the secondhand market.Research released yesterday by cyber security firm Kaspersky suggests that there are tens of thousands of phones for sale with private information still on them.Kaspersky surveyed consumers across the UK and Germany.
Of those who have bought a second hand mobile device, 18 per cent said they had found photos, eight per cent had found login details and passwords, and seven per cent had found identification documents such as driver’s licence.This was from a survey.
It is conceivable that some people were exaggerating. But the security company also bought 185 random devices from the likes of eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Amazon, all of which are popular places to buy second-hand phones and laptops.It found 16 per cent had ‘in plain sight’ data, such as photos or messages, easily accessible for anyone to see and read. Kaspersky surveyed consumers across the UK and Germany.
Of those who have bought a second hand mobile device, 18 per cent said they had found photos, eight per cent had found login details and passwords, and seven per cent had found identification documentsMore worryingly, a further 73 per cent had data that was accessible to anyone with a bit of tech know-how.Photographs of people posing with class-A drugs, nude pictures, scans of people’s driving licences and passports, tax documents, bank details and a wealth of incriminating data was buried in these devices — if you knew how to find them.
That means a mere 11 per cent were properly wiped clean of all their data.‘I think the issue is laxity,’ explains David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky. ‘We still psychologically approach a mobile phone in the same way that we did maybe ten years ago.‘We call
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