Nathan Hamblen on ‘Remote Wipe’

Nathan Hamblen:

At the same time, our intrepid off-hours emailing employee is finally replacing that old iPhone. He gets a Samsung Fascinate the first day it’s available, and of course sets it up for Exchange. Nothing seems amiss. A few hours later, the phone—his personal phone—shuts off while in use. When he turns it back on, it’s back to factory defaults. All the settings, apps, and data have been erased.

I’ve never really thought about it, but Exchange’s remote wipe feature is truly terrible. Apparently it is common practice for IT departments to wipe all of the data from unknown devices rather than revoking access.

And, it’s not as if they are simply wiping the data that is synced with Exchange, they are wiping all data. Setting up Exchange on your handset gives root access to whoever administers the Exchange server. As Nathan points out, it would certainly help if you were warned about this feature when setting up the Exchange account, but not a single one of the major mobile operating systems does this.