Phone Security Fail

Before I proceed with more blog entries, I’m going to share a nice little story about a phone security fail I had that will obviously have an impact on the quality and quantity of pictures from last week’s big trip. As you know, I take random trips and use my cell phone to take pictures and document everything. By doing so, the pictures are stored on the phone and then I upload them to my computer after the trip and write the blog entries on my laptop.

So overall I’m a cheapskate when it comes to technology. I have always found the cheapest things to get the job done. I currently just have a Verizon prepaid plan and I buy sub-$100 (more like $50) Android phones, with my current phone being a Motorola Moto E ($70). The video I shot on my border-to-border trip was a $50 LG Optimus 2 I had lying around.

I choose Verizon because they have the best coverage in both Texas and Wisconsin where I spend the majority of my time. The one thing that sucks with Verizon is they don’t have unlimited data. Basically I get 1GB with my plan and they sell data in 500MB, 1GB, and 3GB add ons. Overall data is expensive so I try to minimize the usage of it to save money. That means I use an SD card to store my pictures and don’t use the picture backup.

Being in IT, I take security very seriously. I have my phone encrypted and PIN protected. One of the features of PIN protection is a phone wipe after 10 unsuccessful PIN attempts. Because I have cheap disposable phones, I don’t worry about buying things like protective cases since those cases cost just as much as the phones. I just put the phone in my pocket and normally it doesn’t  get too beat up.

Well on the last day of RockUSA, the phone was in my pocket and the PIN screen must have been up long enough for me to pocket dial it incorrect 10 times. When I pulled out my phone it said erasing. I freaked out knowing I’d probably lose everything. While I backup my contacts and other stuff with Google Contacts, the pictures are too data intensive to do so.

Needless to say, I lost pretty much the whole week’s pictures except what I posted to Facebook and what I scrambled to take thereafter. It’s a lesson learned to upload the pictures more often. A day or two before, I was on my laptop and was thinking of transferring the files from the phone to the laptop but decided to just do it all at once. That was another mistake I made.

I know after my next set of blog entries, I’m going to start blogging on travel tips and other insights I’ve gained from the traveling I do. Being able to use technology on the road while keeping it secure and not incurring huge data bills (or often times just having enough data coverage in remote spots to even do anything productive) is always a challenge. I’ve gained a ton of insights on what works and what doesn’t work but obviously this mistake lost a decent amount of pictures for my trip. I guess you live and, if you’re smart, you learn.

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