There’s a lot of personal information on your phone, tablet, or laptop – and you don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands. Keep your devices secure, even when you dispose of them. In general, think twice before sacrificing security for convenience.


  • Protect access to your devices.
    • Don’t leave your laptop or phone in your car.
    • Carry a laptop in a backpack or briefcase, not a laptop bag, so no one knows what you have.
    • In a hotel, store your laptop or tablet in the room’s safe.
    • Consider using programs that track your devices’ location if they’re stolen.
    • Copy important files onto a removable disc or an external hard drive (stores in a safe place) or on an online storage service. If your computer is compromised, you’ll still have access to your files.
  • Before recycling or donating your phone or tablet, check your owner’s manual, or the sites of your mobile provider or device manufacturer for how to hard reset or “wipe” your device. Remove or erase SIM and external SD cards; they may still have information about you. Remove any apps and the data associated with them.
  • Before recycling or donating your laptop, save any files you want to keep to a new computer or a USB drive, CDRom, or an external hard drive. Use a wipe program to erase the entire hard drive or remove and physically destroy the hard drive.
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