Can BlackBerrys keep a secret?

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shhh!There’s been an intriguing article floating around the Supernet the past couple of days about the dangers of not hard wiping your mobile devices before selling them off or getting rid of them. Apparently, the flash memory common to most mobiles and smartphones can easily be convinced to recall old emails, sms or address book information if they haven’t been properly cleared. The article tells the tale of Trust Digital, a company that has bought phones of off eBay and recalled information about mistresses and business deals, as well as bank account numbers and passwords.

Flash memory is inexpensive and durable. But it is slow to erase information in ways that make it impossible to recover. So manufacturers compensate with methods that erase data less completely but don’t make a phone seem sluggish. Phone manufacturers usually provide instructions for safely deleting a customer’s information, but it’s not always convenient or easy to find.

You’ll be happy to know, however, that our trusted BlackBerrys come with an easy built-in system for hard wiping, involving sending a command from the BES. Although, some BlackBerry users take other steps to ensure that their data has been protected.

President Bush’s former cybersecurity adviser, Howard Schmidt, carried up to four phones and e-mail devices — and said he was always careful with them. To sanitize his older BlackBerry devices, Schmidt would deliberately type his password incorrectly 11 times, which caused data on them to self-destruct.

Still, all the built-in systems in the world won’t matter if you don’t take advantage of them. So make sure to wipe your old BlackBerry before you upgrade!

  • ShirtNinja
    An oldie but a goodie.
  • Wibbly
    Isn't the 'wipe via BES' process a bit flawed? It preumes

    1. The device is in coverage and has a SIM in it (to receive the command to wipe itself)

    2. If someone puts a non-BB enabled SIM in it, it will also not be able to receive the wipe command - but they can stil use it as PDA or phone.

    So a remote wipe is possibly ok for when your BB gets stolen by someone not really after your data, but is probably NOT if someone steals yoru BB to get your data. They just need to get the SIM out before the BES admin sends the wipe command.

    So it's probably a good idea to keep all the data encrypted if it's sensitive.
  • Bill Andrews
    Ok, who is the picture of?
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