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Just smash it with a hammer.

Just smash it with a hammer.

Someone said this to a friend of mine recently, when she wondered what she should do with her old work phone.

Have you heard of this tactic? It’s fairly common apparently.

So the question is, if you DID smash your old work phones, desktop computers, laptops and tablets with hammers, would the data on them be retrievable from less than savoury types.

And the answer is, most likely, yes. People with the right skill-sets would be able to gain access to private personal and business data.

The next question is, what about if you did a factory reset? Wiped all of that data clean?

According to John Randall, Area Technical Manager for CMIT Solutions in Columbia, ‘98% of good IT professionals can get that data back.’

He now recommends taking all unused electronic equipment to a shredding facility, or having a mobile shredding firm collect them, where you can either witness its destruction, or be provided with a Certificate of Destruction once the items have been destroyed.

‘There is no sure way of deleting data from mobile devices except their physical destruction,’ he said.

It sounds extreme, doesn’t it.

But even when you perform a factory reset, the only files that are removed are the files that reference your data –  not that actual files themselves. Those files, and their data, stays there until it is overwritten with something else.


As a test, Avast Anti-virus software last year bought 20 used Android phones.

Each of these phones had undergone a factory reset, or ‘delete all’ process.

This is what Avast was able to recover:

  • Over 40,000 photos
  • Over 1,500 pictures of family children
  • 750 sensitive photos of women
  • Over 250 unsavoury photos of men
  • Over 1,000 google searches
  • Over 750 emails
  • Over 250 contacts
  • 4 full identities
  • 1 completed loan application.


Yes, that’s right.

A fully completely loan application, and all the personal details, financial information, PRIVATE facts that you just wouldn’t want thrown around to anyone who buys a used phone.

So even if you do smash it with a hammer, there’s no guarantee that your data is protected.

Even if you do reset to original factory settings, there’s no guarantee that your data is protected.

There is only one way to guarantee that.

Shred it.

To find out more about our mobile phone, and electronic device shredding service, just click here.