We remember when we moved house a couple of years ago and came across 3 computers collecting dust in the attic. ‘What should we do with them?’ we asked. We tried to remember if anything ‘important’ had been stored on them. We wiped the hard drives and wondered if that was enough. We wiped them again and then we removed the hard drives and beat them up with a hammer. Nothing like good physical destruction to relieve tension and ensure that a device won’t spill your data ‘beans’.
Kelly Jackson Higgins has a good article about retiring mobile phones. Whether handing it down, selling it, or throwing it out, it is good practice to at least return any device to its factory settings. Tyler Shields at Forrester Research sums it up nicely:
“At the end of the day, you’re never going to guarantee complete security when you’re selling your phone [or other device – editor]. There are all sorts of extremely advanced attacks. If you’re paranoid about it, don’t sell it. Destroy it.”