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Cruel Reality – Even With A Password Your Phone Can Be Wiped!

storm_coming As I always tell users who are on BIS accounts: You MUST backup your device!!! A colleague came to me last week asking if there was any way to recover information from a wiped BlackBerry. I promptly replied that it was not possible and asked him what happened. Turns out that somebody maliciously tried to break into his password protected BlackBerry. After entering in the password incorrectly 10 times the device wiped itself and all of his precious information.

This “Feature” is by design and there is no way to turn it off. Your device will wipe itself after a incorrect password is entered 10 times. RIM even implemented a safety feature recently so that after the fifth incorrect password you need to enter in the word BlackBerry for subsequent attempts. This at least prevents your phone from being wiped by your kids playing with it.

Still it opens your information to being wiped at any time in the hands of a malicious user. It could even be a truly cruel April fools joke. So I remind you all! Make sure to backup your device! Or at the very least subscribe to a service like SmrtGuard to backup your critical information to their servers.

Personally I am waiting for RIM or some other developer to create an application that would lock down or password protect only certain parts of the device. For example, I don’t want anybody who has access to my device to be able to wipe it. Or also offer a lower security option where instead of wiping your device it would just lock it for 30 minutes or a set time limit. I can only imagine how pissed it would make me if entering in a wrong password on my laptop would wipe my laptop by default! BES administrators could always raise this limit for sensitive devices. For now another option is to just put your device in standby which does not offer any security other than locking your keyboard.

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. 1 word (or 2, I’m not sure) SmrtGuard.

  2. I’ve noticed my Tour asking me to type BlackBerry in after the password was incorrect 2 times, but mine is set for 5 times.

  3. Moral of the story:
    Password protect AND Backup your device. Not doing both is just ASKING for the eventual disaster. We all know Murphy, right?

  4. smrguard that automatically backs up my data weekly and dm dackup every 2wks

  5. hmmmm, i can think a couple of EX-girlfriends i’d love to do this to.

  6. i actually use a program called patternlock for my storm. it addresses those issues perfectly. there is gesture based logins. you trace your finger in a 3 by 3 pattern to unlock your phone. you can lock individual applications and even exclude others. as well it has gps location support to know when youre home or not to disable auto locking based on locations. Screen lock for calls… Just go check it out!

  7. I really wish I knew about this before I decided to let someone else play with my phone after putting a password on it. It essentially turned my phone into a paperweight. After a few hours of research and trial and error though I got my phone working again, but all my contacts are gone. I never had a chance to back up my phone since I never expected a self destruct sequence of everything including the operating system itself.

  8. problem number one is you never “expected” for something to go wrong.
    welcome to the RIM world.

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