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Wiping mobile concerns

A decade ago, the majority of mobile phones were used exclusively for making calls, sending text messages and perhaps surfing the net at a push. But if you asked any consumer now how their phone is used, it would be a very different story, writes Amir Lehr, VP Cellular Products and Business Development, Cellebrite.

Gone are the days of downloading polyphonic ringtones from the internet and trying to achieve high scores on “Snake.”

Now we run our lives from our phones. Current developments indicate your telephone will soon be used to control everything you do – from giving you access to your home, car, medical and financial records, to being a communications hub, for email accounts, internet, managing social media profiles, and of course calls. This results in an enormous amount of personal information being kept on these devices – text messages, contacts, emails, photographs and videos, bank details, birthdays, user names, passwords, identification data, business information, and so much more.

So it really is no wonder that nearly one in two UK adults say they feel extremely anxious when disconnected from their mobiles. Put quite simply, our phones contain our lives. And all this highly sensitive information needs to be protected. There are two main scenarios in which specific precautions need to be taken.

One sees the mobile phone being sent to a laboratory or workshop for critical repairs. Once the phone is out of its owner’s hands, it is difficult to protect the data it contains. The other is when a phone is traded-in for a newer model while the old phone – and all its content – is left with the store or recycler. In fact, research has found that between 54 and 60 per cent of discarded or traded-in used mobile phones still contain the personal data of their previous owners. Surely, we should be advocating the need to protect ourselves and our personal information from risk? Perhaps resetting the phone would dispose of some information but the fact of the matter is, unless expert equipment is used, no deletion is permanent.

Cellebrite, a provider of mobile data transfer solutions, however, has alleviated these mobile data security concerns by launching new “device wipe” functionality with its latest version of its automated phone BuyBack and other solutions such as diagnostics or content transfer, backup and restore capabilities. By combining phone buyback and device wipe, Cellebrite has helped bring data protection to the forefront, assuaging any consumer fears about the protection of their personal data by putting them at ease right at the point at which they trade in their phone.
Delivered by retailers in one simple, easy and even cost-free service to customers, the new functionality will assure customers that personal data is completely deleted either when they trade in their old phones or are required to send them to a repair facility for a period of time. In the latter case, Cellebrite’s Transfer, Backup and Restore solution works in tandem with the wipe function, ensuring that all content is securely saved and that no sensitive material remains on the phone.

Once an in-store agent confirms the phone buyback transaction with the customer, the wipe can be performed automatically in one simple action on a supported device. The solution frees end-users and store agents from having to know the nuances of each phone to be sure that no data stays behind. The device wipe can be offered as an incentive to trade their phones for in-store credit, and typically takes less than five minutes, Customers can then continue on to the next shop soon after, assured that any lingering personal information on the handset has been eradicated. Given the competitiveness of the global wireless retail landscape and the need to add new high margin revenue streams, demand for phone buyback programmes among carriers and large retailers is growing. The device wipe is critical to helping wireless retail customers successfully monetise phone buyback and, more importantly, is essential to assuring consumers that the history of their phone has been permanently deleted and not fallen into the wrong hands.


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