You are good person – you care about the environment. You see the public service announcements about e-Waste and e-Waste turn-in days so you turn in your old smart phones to be properly recycled. MAKE SURE YOU ERASE THE MEMORY FIRST.
Recently I attended a training session about “chip off” training. Chip off is when you use heat to remove a memory chip from an electronic device so you can read the chip directly. This technique is used in data recovery and cyber forensics for thumb drives or SSD drives that have been damaged. During the workshop, we looked at a brand new out-of-the-box device and guess what we found on the chip after it was removed? We saw a lot of data on this presumed brand-new chip. In fact, there were 500 pictures, photo of a driver’s license and much more.
It appears the Chinese firm making the “new” thumb drives use recycled memory chips from recycled smart phones! That’s right, phones that are recycled are pulled apart and their chips are reused as-is.
The gist of this article is to make sure you erase your memory from your cell phones before recycling them! Apple iPhones and Android smart phones are both easy as they have an erase option in their “Settings” icon. For other phones here is a great link that will help: (https://lifehacker.com/5808280/what-should-i-do-with-my-phone-before-i-sell-it). However, if you want to be sure your memory is erased, use the “Menz Rule #11: there is no electronics that can’t be erased with a railroad spike (huge nail) and a $5.00 sledge hammer.” And, it’s fun to do too – unless you need the phone/device to be intact for a refund.