If you are like me, you check that you have your smartphone with you when you get out of a car. Knowing it is there gives you piece of mind that someone cannot get to the information it holds and potentially use that for criminal purposes such as cloning your identity. Until recently, I hadn't given any thought to what would happen if some information was left behind even though I had the device. But this changed when I read an article on what can happen if you take advantage of the facilities in modern hire cars. The key points for me were:
- If you connect a phone for charging it can keep your phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages
- The locations you entered in the route finder, or visited - this can tell someone where you live and work
You will probably be thinking how would someone get to this information. It could be the people that rent the car in the future or rental car employees who download the information and sell it to criminals. There were also warnings about cab drivers offering to let you connect your phone to charge it or play your music. The majority of drivers are being helpful, but you never know if they are doing it to get information they can use or sell on.
- Use a cigarette lighter adapter instead of the car’s USB port to charge your device
- If you do connect your device to the car, the infotainment system should show a screen to specify which types of information you want it to access. Only grant access only to the information you think is necessary – if you just want to play music you don’t need to grant access to your contacts
- Delete your data from the infotainment system before returning the car. One way is to reset it to the factory default. An alternative way is to go into the infotainment system’s settings menu, locate your device and follow the prompts to delete it, and also delete any GPS details you have entered
- Don't take up the cab drivers offer to play your music or charge your device