By Ryan Naraine
May 22nd, 2008
In reponse to reports that personally identifiable private information
can be easily swiped from used iPhones sold on eBay, the tireless Rich
Mogull has cooked up a nifty way to wipe data from iPhones.
Mogull admits his process is "not perfect" but it does look to be an
easy way to overload the iPhone with music files to force an overwrite
of the device's storage. The Securosis.com consultant recommends the
steps are followed multiple times, with multiple music playlists to make
sure the device is wiped properly.
Here are Mogull's six-step recommendations:
1. Restore the iPhone from within iTunes.
2. On the "Info" tab, un-check all options so you don't synchronize
calendars, email, bookmarks, and contacts.
3. On the Photos, Podcasts, and Video tabs, uncheck "Sync".
4. Create 3 big playlists at large as the storage capacity of your
5. On the Music tab, select the first of your 3 playlists to sync. Make
sure the storage bar at the bottom looks full after syncing.
6. Sync your iPhone, change to the next playlist, sync again, and repeat
one last time.
In the comments, someone also suggests:
After restoring your iPhone, jailbreak it and install OpenSSH. Then
ssh into the phone and load up the /root folder with meaningless
files. Whatever data stored there previously will get overwritten.
Do this in conjunction with Mogull's method to be completely
If you're preparing that iPhone for sale on Craigslist or eBay ahead of
the coming 3G version, the recommendations above can only help.
Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in
Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security
evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations
around the world.
See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations. Send
tips, ideas and feedback to naraine SHIFT 2 gmail.com
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