I am writing this post because of an incident last weekend. After a long week of work I went for dinner with a few friends and afterwards we ended up in a local hang-out in Cape Town having a few well deserved drinks. It was busy and somehow somebody managed to grab my iPhone and wallet out of my back pocket. I won’t go into the facts that I should be more careful, the costs of replacing everything and the time spent doing so because my blood-pressure will just rise too high.
I had my iPhone for just under a year and it truly had become my favourite companion with email, music, internet, facebook and Nimbuzz all in my one little toy. After it was gone I realised how much information is actually on there. One good thing was that there is always a backup of the information on my MAC and my mobileMe account.
Some confidential information is freely accessible and could cause problems if the phone is not password locked. Contact information, email and accounts such as Nimbuzz, wireless network access accounts, VPN set-ups, databases and I am sure many more could be freely accessible by anybody having the phone.
Luckily I had recently signed up for a mobileMe account so I could erase the phone to its original factory settings with the remote wipe facility. Please read the following article in MACworld if you are interested. Microsoft Exchange and Windows Mobile users have a similar remote wipe service for their exchange data on their phone as explained here. If you know of similar services for other mobile platforms please let me know and I will post them here !
Despite all the opportunities to erase your data you have to know that it will only work if the device is connected to the internet. My advice is therefore to always have a password to access your mobile phone because without that a thief could simply disable the facility or simply not connect to the internet while accessing your data. If possible you should then try to increase the security by utilising a remote wipe service.