As I mentioned back in December, your life on a cell phone is not as secure as we would like it to be.
A recent iPhone Atlas article, that TUAW reported, and Engadget noted, tells of iPhone guru and author Zdziarski clearly demonstrated how difficult it is to truly erase your data, even when you want to, let alone, if your phone just gets misplaced or stolen.
You can be certain that all phones cache data in different little corners users have no access to. The only way to truly help ameliorate the problem is to implement some sort of hardware encryption in the phones themselves. Then with the presentation of the proper biometrics, the data becomes available.
Without the proper biometrics, the data should just be a jumble of data.
But how many phones feature hardware encryption?
What sort of information is available on your phone?
What e-mails with log-in information did you receive?
What phone numbers would you rather not be made public?
I know of several people who use their phone/PDA to keep track of all the various online user names and passwords they have.
Access to this is just a few short steps away from identity theft.
Commenter to Zdziarski’s article “seika719” offers a basic way to make it one big step harder to recover data:
Why not just erase/restore to make space, then fill it to capacity with music to overwrite every bit of memory? Do it again with different music if you feel the need.
While it may not stop high-end recovery tools which can somehow see through new data to the overwritten data (at least on hard drives), this would at least make it hard to casually open up and peruse a phone you are deliberately reselling.
But a phone that’s lost or stolen?
You don’t get the opportunity to carefully and deliberately wipe it.
As cell phones become far more powerful, we need better security on these things.
So don’t save passwords on your phone.
Don’t leave yourself logged in to e-mail accounts.
Don’t leave copies of important documents on your phone.
Treat your phone like a guest kiosk at an internet cafe.
Use it to access what you want, but leave nothing behind.
Your hundreds of phone numbers are enough!