A man bought a used BlackBerry from a former Morgan Stanley vice president and discovered that it still contains the VP’s email messages, revealing a treasure trove of confidential information, according to this Wired News story by Kim Zetter.
In addition to personal e-mails that reveal the VP’s own Charles Schwab IRA account numbers, the name and phone number of his mother and the amounts he paid for his monthly mortgage, car and Visa bills, the e-mails discuss confidential information about loan terms for Morgan Stanley clients, debt-restructuring strategies for specific companies, preliminary talks for potential merger deals and even some creative ways of interpreting contracts.
You might say the VP was foolish for failing to wipe the BlackBerry’s memory clean before selling it (as many PC owners fail to do with their computers’ hard drives), but it turns out it’s not immediately obvious how to do this. And the company can only zap these devices’ memory if the company is using Microsoft Exchange as its email server; Morgan Stanley uses Lotus Domino. Oops.