Technology evolves at a rapid pace. Major smartphone manufacturers unveil new models every year. A GSMA study found that users in developed countries tend to replace mobile phones every 18 months. But selling or disposing of old mobile phones can be a threat to cybersecurity.
“Data is the new oil,” said Angel T. Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT and Smart. “In the wrong hands, they can be used to steal someone’s money or identity. That’s why when we let go of our devices, especially smartphones, we wipe them clean of our information,”
PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) reminds consumers that before selling or disposing of smartphones, it is advisable to delete all the data.
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How to wipe out data on your smartphones:
1. Back up files like contacts, photos, videos, messages, and notes
2. Transfer them to a laptop or external hard drive. Cloud storage is also an option.
3. Delete files from the device that’s up for sale or disposal.
iOS users can sign out of their Apple ID, App Store, Find My iPhone, iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime. Android users must log out of their Google account, Gmail, and Google Play accounts.
It’s also a must to perform a factory reset to wipe out any remaining data. For iPhones, this can be done by going to Settings, choosing General, tapping Reset, and then selecting “Erase All Content and Settings.”
Those who use Android phones should tap Settings, choose System, then select Reset. But they need to turn off Factory Reset Protection first. This security feature is found on Android devices with “Lollipop” or higher versions.
PLDT and Smart also remind consumers to remove SIM cards and memory cards if their phones come with expandable storage.
Additionally, smartphones for disposals should be dropped inside dedicated bins for electronic waste. Electronics contain chemicals that can leak into the environment if not properly discarded. Alternatively, users can also donate old devices to non-profit organizations for reuse or recycling.