Even encryption may not be enough

Brenden Schaaf / March 24, 2013

Data security is probably one of the biggest issues facing everyone in the near future.  We’ve grown accustomed to hearing news reports about laptops stolen from the back seat of rental cars and hard drives lost in-transit containing sensitive data such as social security numbers.  In these cases, the advice has been that encryption would protect data in such circumstances and the issue is just that too few people use it.

With our increased reliance on mobile technology, Android and iPhone have offered users the option of encryption for some time giving users some peace of mind that their data on mobile phones could be secure as well.

Well it isn’t quite that simple as some German researchers have discovered. It turns out that placing the phone in the freezer can allow some of the supposedly “safe” data to become compromised.  There are very specific circumstances that have to be met in order to pull this off, but just the fact that it is possible should give people some reservations about placing especially sensitive data on their mobile devices.

Compared to people naively using unsecured wireless access points while accessing sensitive data, I think that this issue is comparatively minor but it is worth noting.  Perhaps the biggest benefit will be to hardware/software manufacturers so that they can build countermeasures into their products.

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