How many of us have an old gadget taking up space in our desk or filing cabinet at work? I am ashamed to admit that I, too, have an old flip phone and a dinosaur of a laptop just waiting to be recycled. I just need to take the time to be sure that I secure the devices before I toss them to the curb. For the non-tech device owners, how do you secure your device before discarding? Let’s go over some steps you should take before bidding your old tech goodbye.
How Much Personal Data is There?
If you are like a lot of people I know, then you have more personal information on your devices than you may even realize. Just think about it… your device holds a treasure trove of information like your browsing history, where you shop, your passwords, usernames, credit card information, banking numbers, location history based on GPS coordinates, old text chats, photos and, of course, all of your contacts! If any, or all, of this information, was extracted and used maliciously there could potentially be quite a bit of damage.
How to Secure Your Device
Regardless of whether you are bringing your old device to the electronic recycling day in your town or putting it up for sale on Craigslist, there are several steps you will want to consider before you do so. Do not just delete the data and think you have erased the information. Someone who is tech savvy can easily recover that information. Instead, the first step is to securely erase or “wipe” all the data on your device. The simplest way to do this is to use the “factory reset” function. This simple step will return the device to the condition it was in when you first bought it. Before doing this, be sure you backup all of the information, photos, or files that are on the device. You can back up to a hard drive or even your cloud just so you won’t realize moments after you hit “reset” that there was that one thing you needed.
In addition to the data stored on your device, you also need to consider what to do with your SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card. When you perform a factory reset on your device, the SIM card retains information about your account and is tied to you, the user. If you are moving the SIM card to a new device, then it will retain all of your contacts and information for you. However, if you are using a new SIM card, you will need to physically shred or destroy it to prevent someone else from re-using it.
Now that the device is wiped and the information is no longer recoverable, you may want to consider the environmental impact of the device. Many manufacturers offer a comprehensive recycling program so these gadgets do not end up in a landfill for centuries. Apple, for example, has a comprehensive recycling program, and will even give you some cash back for a new purchase if your device is in reasonably good condition. Contact your manufacturer and see if they have a similar program for recycling your devices.
If you need help safely disposing of your devices, then call Spectra Networks at 978.219.9752 or visit our website.