It was bound to happen…was it a problem?


Replacing a mobile phone

Along with death and taxes, one of the things that will happen to almost everyone in the UK is losing access to a vital lifeline, aka your mobile phone. And when that happens, are you going to be in for a frantic four-hour session to get back to normal, or will it be relatively easy.  I found out when my phone recently stopped working on a Sunday, not sure when but it must have been late morning as I had been using it at the start of the day to check the news. Initially, I thought I had managed to power it off, but turning it on ended up in a message saying the device was corrupted. After checking the error message on the manufacturer’s forum and trying all the options to coax it back into life, I came to the conclusion that it was a fault on the device. As it was out of warranty the simplest option was to get a new one. After checking out recommended phones in the price range I was prepared to pay I selected the model I wanted and went out to get it.

So now the task was to secure it and get it working with access to all my information. Being a good Information Security professional, I had done regular backups of data and enabled two-factor authentication (2FA) on all my accounts. No point telling your clients to do this if you don’t do it yourself! It was a bit fiddly to get the nano sim out of the old phone and into the new one, but it wasn’t a problem and the phone registered itself on the mobile network straight away. So now on to the Apps – the Android Play store has the Library facility so it was simple to go through the apps and install the ones I needed. Then it was working through each one; login and enter the 2FA authorisation code. As I store passwords securely the login process was very easy; go to one place to get the passwords and then wait for the authorisation codes to be sent. These were generally by SMS as recovery of the authenticator apps wasn’t a priority.

Getting to a usable phone took 1 hour, and that included working out where I wanted the app icons and what photo to use as the wallpaper. Did I recover all of my data – No. I lost some text messages as I only back these up every two weeks. But it didn’t cause any issues, and I may not do any text message backups in the future as I probably don’t need to go back to any. I also lost access to a text file I had been using to record a few ideas – any that seem good after a few days I transfer to an online to-do list. I am going to put everything on the online list from now on and delete the ones that are nor required.

The hardest decision I had to make in the whole process may have been what wallpaper to use.

What worked well

  • Doing regular backups meant it was easy to quickly recover to a usable state
  • Keeping passwords securely in one location – one place to look for everything
  • Having two-factor authentication is good for security, and isn’t difficult to use even when you have several Apps/services to setup

What I will change going forward

  • Review the need to backup SMS messages
  • Put all ideas on an online to-do list
  • Take screenshots of the different screens so I know where apps are located.

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