Technology evolves at a rapid pace. Major smartphone manufacturers unveil new models every year. A GSMA study found that users in developed countries tend to replace their mobile phones every 18 months. But selling or disposing old mobile phones can be a threat to cybersecurity.
“Data is the new oil. In the wrong hands, they can be used to steal someone’s money or identity. That’s why when we let go of our devices, especially smartphones, we wipe them clean of our information,” cautions Angel T. Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT and Smart.
PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) reminds the public that before selling or disposing smartphones, the CyberSmart individual protects his data.
First, back up files like contacts, photos, videos, messages, and notes. Transfer them to a laptop or external hard drives. Cloud storage is also an option. Then delete files from the device that’s up for sale or disposal.
iOS users should sign out of their Apple ID, App Store, Find My iPhone, iCloud, iMessage and FaceTime. Android users need to log out of their Google account, Gmail, and Google Play.
It’s also a must to perform a factory reset to wipe out any remaining data. For iPhones, this can be done by going to Settings, choosing General, tapping Reset, and then selecting “Erase All Content and Settings.”
Those who use Android phones should tap Settings, choose System, then select Reset. But they need to turn off Factory Reset Protection first. This security feature is found on Android devices with ‘Lollipop’ or higher versions.
Finally, consumers must not forget to remove SIM cards and memory cards if their phones come with expandable storage.
Additionally, smartphones for disposals should be dropped inside dedicated bins for electronic waste. Electronics contain chemicals that can leak into the environment if not properly discarded. Alternatively, users can also donate old devices to non-profit organizations for reuse or recycling.
PLDT and Smart’s efforts to secure customer data are part of a much broader program to elevate the quality of customer experience by protecting them from threats and attacks. These efforts also highlight the PLDT Group’s support to UNSDG No. 9 on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Supporting initiatives that manage e-waste underscores the companies’ commitment to UNSDG No. 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.