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Betrayed by your cellphone

/ Source: The Associated Press
  • Passwords: Set a password for your cell phone to lock the phone either after some period of inactivity or at a certain time each night. Don’t use an easy-to-guess password or numeric sequence, such as “1-2-3-4.” Most phones allow a user to receive incoming calls and dial 911 for emergencies even when the phone is locked.
  • Keep it off your phone: Consider the risks of storing sensitive data on your phone, such as banking or medical information and passwords. If you must store such information on your phone, consider keeping it on an external memory card that can be removed.
  • Erase it: Before you sell your used phone or give it away, ask your wireless carrier and your phone’s manufacturer for advice about how to wipe personal information off the phone in ways that it can’t be recovered. Such a process almost always involves overwriting information in a phone’s memory with zeroes or other spurious data.
  • Talk to your company: Some phones, such as the newest ones running Microsoft’s mobile software, can be remotely wiped if the phone is lost or stolen. Other third-party software can delete a phone’s information if a specially coded e-mail is delivered to it. Talk to your company about what technology it employs to protect its information and what is available.
  • Back it up: Back up any personal information on your phone also onto your computer, in case your phone is lost or stolen.