Getting a new phone? Take care with your old SIM Card

Those of us who love surfing the internet and using other data hungry applications on our phones will be getting very impatient about the launch of the 4G networks. With 4G we will be able to obtain broadband internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps, which is almost certainly better than we can achieve through our home broadband internet provider.

This means that there will be large numbers of people upgrading their phones as soon as their contracts permit them to do so, or if they can afford to do so, then sooner. Upgrading to 4G is likely to mean that you will need a new SIM card, but before you recycle your old phone, Dialaphone, a leading uk phone retailer warned you should be very careful about what you do with your old SIM.

Naturally you will erase any important data from your card such as your address book and test messages to eliminate any possibility of them coming back to haunt you, but just deleting them is no longer sufficiently secure.
Currently there is a piece of software around that can access a SIM card from which all data has apparently been deleted and recreate all the original data on a computer. If that is not bad enough, it can do more with this data than you were able to on your phone, particularly if your phone had GPS. Data from your GPS will appear on your SIM and this programme can extract that data and discover information on such things as your usual route from office to home and the evenings on which you might have diverted from this route.

You don’t even need to upgrade your phone to be in danger. Nowadays there are a number of firms advertising on the internet who can extract all this data from any SIM card, and they are offering to their services to spouses who might suspect their partners, or employers who might suspect their employees.

There are phone applications around that can perform safe deletes by overwriting data rather than just erasing it. These are effective but they are not totally secure; data shadows can still remain. The message is simple: take care of your SIM card.