I recently ran across an interesting new story about Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian, who lost his Blackberry while in Las Vegas last fall. Apparently the couple who found it were trying to extort money out of him or they would sell the phone to the “highest bidder.”
According to the report, Berrian stores “financial and account information and his Social Security number on the device” as well as access codes to his home, photos of his daughter, and “other personal photographs and video [of himself] and third parties not intended for public distribution.
While it’s quite possible that he was most concerned about those “other” photos and videos getting out into the public eye, let’s just focus on the financial information. I can only assume that he was storing this information in the clear because, if it was properly secured, there would have be no reason for concern.
At the risk of stating the obvious, you should never store this sort of information in an easily accessible format. Whether it’s on your computer or (especially) on a smartphone, there’s a reasonable chance that your data could fall into the wrong hands due to hacking, loss, or theft.
Protecting my data
While I store all kinds of sensitive info (account #s, login credentials, etc.) on both my laptop and my iPhone, I protect it with an encryption program called 1password, which automatically syncs across platforms using DropBox, which is an onlne storage and synchronization service.
If I make a change in 1password on my computer, it automatically propagates to my iPhone, and vice versa. Either way, I’m able to manage and access this information whenever and wherever I need it without and security concerns.
What about you?
Do you have any tips for ensuring that your data is both easily accessible and secure?