Can People Steal Data from Old Phones and Computers?

The short answer: “Yes, yes they can!”

If you Google “identity theft,” there are over eight million results. Cybersecurity issues and data breaches are regular news; it is easy to believe that you don’t have much control over who can access your private information. While you cannot personally ensure all your data is secure, one thing you can control is how you dispose of your computers, phones and other devices that may have sensitive material stored on them.

Think about the data you store on your computer. There’s all the obvious sensitive information: tax documents, social security numbers, credit card numbers, passport or drivers licenses and passwords. Don’t forget proprietary business content, contacts, photos and other personal content that remains on your computer or phone unless you make a concerted effort to delete or destroy it. When you leave this information on your devices, you expose yourself to identity theft and potentially hand your sensitive data to a stranger.

A recent Gizmodo article detailed one researcher’s experience going through old devices people had given away. Their post explained how Josh Frantz, a senior security consultant at Rapid7, visited pawnshops near his home and purchased old desktops, hard disks, cellphones and more. He found “a wealth of private data belonging to their former owners, including a ton of personally identifiable information (PII).”

If you don’t want a technical researcher or potential hacker accessing your private data on a discarded device, do not throw away or give away your electronics without taking precautions. With a little know-how, a hacker can retrieve data from your hard drive long after you have stopped using it or even after you erase it. Thieves can easily use this data to steal your identity, make copies of your photos and read your private emails.

arobasegroup will gladly recycle your devices in a manner that will prevent anyone from obtaining your private data. As a bonus, we will guarantee the device will not end up in a landfill.

We welcome current and prospective clients to invite us to assist with this important task. Put your mind at ease and safeguard your important data at the same time!