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How to dispose of your device securely

You should consider that any devices you dispose of could be accessed by strangers.

When selling, trading or throwing your device away, remember to take the right steps to protect your information. If you don’t dispose of your device securely, cybercriminals could access the information on it, like your passphrases, credit card details and personal messages.

Case Study - What can happen if you don’t dispose of your device securely

Sam used a laptop to manage his business, conduct online banking and use social media. One day, he decided to sell his laptop and buy a new one. Sam didn’t want the new laptop owner to access his information so he deleted all of his important files and logged out of his accounts. After advertising the laptop online, he sold it to a new owner.

A month later, Sam was shopping for groceries when his card declined at the checkout because it had insufficient funds. Sam knew he was paid the day before so there should have been money in his account. He tried to log in to his online banking to see what happened but his passphrase wouldn’t work. Sam started to worry that someone had logged into his bank account and stolen his money.

How could this happen? Sam used his old laptop for online banking but he thought his information was secure because he signed out of his account and deleted the file where he saved all of his passphrases.

Unfortunately, the person who bought Sam’s laptop was a cybercriminal. They easily recovered his deleted files, including the file with his passphrases. They used the information they recovered to log in to Sam’s bank account and steal his money. What actions should Sam have taken to keep his information secure?

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