I’ve hardly used a cellphone for more than six months. I’d either sold it for another phone or exchange it with a friend. It was normal. In fact, many people do so. However, it was when my phone rang late at a night, my world almost turned upside down.
Warning: Formatting Is Not Enough; Wipe All The Data Before You Sell Your Phone
A sore voice spoke from the other side and called my name. Half asleep, I acknowledged.
“Sir, are you looking for a PG?”
How does he know it when I never posted the requirement anywhere on the internet? How? Damn! Screenshots. I took the screenshots of several advertisements on OLX and I. . .I just sold my phone. But I formatted my phone? How could it be possible?
In a little instance, I shot the gush of questions at him. In my fear, he repeated that one thing over and over again: I don’t have the authority over revealing the information; My job is just to call and redirect the clients to the right vendors.
It couldn’t be even a spam. The formal language and the use of protocols—it wasn’t unreal. I was dishevelled.
The Sherlock in me didn’t let me sleep. I didn’t want to either. And then it was all Google that could help me breathe. In my fortune, it indeed did and that too convincingly.
A few Google searches made me draw this conclusion: first I’d used a random data storage drive and blindly packed my gallery. Second I formatted the drive but I couldn’t wipe the data. It was already sold.
“Most consumers in India are unaware that data can be recovered from their legacy drives and mobiles and steps like formatting are not enough for ensuring data privacy,” said the study by data migration solutions provider Stellar Data Recovery.
Even though it wasn’t a confidential information, but it could have been anything. But you can’t always be lucky.
“In one such hard disk drive, the comprehensive business details of an automotive showroom, including monthly sales, historical sales records, pricing list, feedback forms and complete customer information comprising names, addresses and contact numbers was identified,” the First post flashed.
It implies that physical devices like hard disks, pen drives and other storage devices can also leak your data.
“Erasing data using a regulatory compliance software is a sustainable technique for physically destroying the storage media,” the report further suggested.
Lastly, I’d only request you to avoid using uncommon drives and before you sell any storage device, make sure you have scanned it a thousand time with an authentic software. You are responsible for your own security.