Those deleted text messages? Maybe not so deleted after all

We live in an increasingly mobile computing world and as a result more and more of our daily affairs are ending up on things like our mobile phones. Everything from text messages to myriad bits of personal information.

Here's the thing though - all those text messages you thought you deleted. Well they may not be as deleted as you might have thought and all that other private information - well it turns out it may not be as private as you thought. At least so say Kim Khor, director of Khor Willis Associates an Australian mobile forensics company found on the speed dial of police departments and corporations.

Khor with the help of a device the shape of a hockey puck and costing $25,000 can retrieve those secret text messages that you thought you had deleted from your mobile phone even after five years.

Keen to find out more The Sunday Telegraph tested their abilities last week.

We provided Mr Coulthart with an old SIM card, found in the bottom of a friend's drawer and an eight-month-old iPhone to discover what information they could find.

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Mr Coulthart inserted the seven-year-old SIM card into his forensic device and was able to scroll through hundreds of messages, including a ``Merry Christmas'' from December 25, 2005.

"From this SIM card I can see messages, many deleted, back to July, 2005,'' Mr Coulthart said.

He ascertained the owner's date of birth, home address, brother's name and high school attended _ all from deleted messages.

"Often when messages are deleted from the handset they are sent to the SIM card, and as long as there is space on the card they are still accessible to a hacker,'' Mr Coulthart said.

With Bluetooth and infrared to access information from a mobile phone at a distance, the $25,000 forensic device is the law-enforcement tool of choice, he said.

The men then uploaded information from a newer iPhone, affording easy access to the contacts book, SMS messages and photos.

Mr Khor said: ``We used an email address gathered from the phone to find a Facebook profile and confirm the `friends' accounts, thereby finding, for example, a photo of the owner's sister.

"In 10 minutes we found a fair amount of personal information about the family and the owner online.''

Source: The Daily Telegraph

Isn't technology grand?