20 December 2013

SSO Alert Priority Low

Will you be lucky enough this Christmas to get a new phone or tablet? Are your intending to hand down your old device or sell it? Be sure to prepare your device by deleting all your old information!

Unfortunately, an endless number of stories can be found online about people buying or receiving a second hand device that still contained the images, messages or even financial information of its previous owner.

Here are some tips to help you avoid giving away your personal information

  1. Back up your device: You need to back up everything you want to keep or it will be gone. You should then be able to easily transfer all your apps, contacts and information to the new device.
  2. Remove the SIM card: The person receiving it has no need for this. You will probably want to transfer this to the new device. Contacts and call log data can be stored on the SIM.
  3. Remove external storage cards: If you have removable storage cards such as micro SD cards, remove them and store them - this is the simplest and most reliable way to ensure your data is safe. You can usually reuse these in your next device.
    If you absolutely must pass on the device with removable memory cards included, you need to be sure any data left behind is inaccessible. Factory reset and erase options do not always remove data from external storage cards (check with your device manufacturer).
  4. Format your micro SD card: if you are passing on your SD card, formatting it is the best option.
    Most devices using SD cards offer additional options to erase or format your card/storage as part of the factory reset options. You should ensure these are checked.
    You can also physically remove the card from your device and insert it in to a card reader on your computer, or connect your phone to your computer via its USB cable, then manually browse to the card as if it is a standard drive and check to see if any files are still on it.
    Please note: Deleting files (pressing delete) does not technically erase physical data from the card, but rather, it marks the data as deleted and makes the space available to be overwritten in the future. It is possible for an expert to use file recovery techniques to access this information.
    We therefore advise you to keep or ensure any removable cards are formatted before passing them on with the device.
  5. Erase/Reset: Perform a reset/erase all content from your device.
    All devices offer options to factory reset or erase data from the phone. Some also include options that enable you to erase data or format any SD cards in your device. Ensure these are checked.

Select Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
(iOS7 devices may also need Find My Phone to be turned off in Settings > iCloud.)

Manufacturers will vary, but should be listed in Settings > Backup & Reset > Factory data reset (or similar).

Select Settings > About > Reset your phone.

More information

A good summary for erasing iOS7 products can be found here.

Microsoft’s advice for Windows phones.

A discussion of options for Android users can be found here.

Stay Smart Online steps for securing your phone.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.


Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.


This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.


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