The Dangers of Pre-Loved Tech

Publication Date: January 2017

Published By: Chris Davis – Zeppelin IT

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner your no doubt wondering what you can get you loved ones for that special day especially when they have been talking about how much they are wanting for the latest tech but your still feeling those January blues after Christmas. Brilliant! You’ve found the bargain IT Equipment that you have been looking for either for yourself or for that special occasion for your loved one, now you find yourself opening your purse or your wallet. Woah hold it though is this really the bargain that you think it is or is it going to be a whole host or trouble for PC Repairs or from its previous history? Well let’s take a look at the world of the second hand digital equipment shall we. Let us start with what equipment is out there.

There are many different types of equipment that are out there that you may consider buying for yourself or your loved ones such as:

  • Mobile Phone
  • Tablet Devices such as iPad’s
  • Desktop PC’s &amp Laptops

In today’s digital world just about all of these devices can find access to the internet through one way or another. All of them are also capable of communicating on mass with the rest of the world through either multimedia messaging or through online communications. Each of the devices all have a history that started them from a humble beginning and turned them into what they are now. I will look at how each device has evolved from its humble beginning to the device that we all know and recognise today. I shall start with the mobile phone.

USwitch.com states that the original mobile phone was an idea that we originally conceived many years ago way back in 1908 (believe it or not). However, uSwitch.com go on to say that the real mobile phones didn’t really start to appear to till 1940’s. These though were still just a two way radio that allowed people such as taxi drivers to communicate with each other. The very first mobile phone that we would recognise today was actually produced by Motorola on April 3rd 1973. Although primitive we would certainly recognise how to use it today. Fast forward 43 years and we have the iPhone & Samsung Phones as the major market players. These we would most certainly recognise, in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you were reading this in an Apple or Samsung device right now.

So how can a preloved mobile phone be dangerous to my loved ones I find you asking? There are a multitude of different ways that a preloved or even bargain mobile phone could be dangerous to yourself or even to your loved ones. These can range from inadvertently purchasing a fake phone to purchasing a phone that has a hidden past. A phone that is a fake can be very hard to spot especially when you make your purchase on line from one of the many online auction sites that are available around the world. However, these phones can pose a threat to your home because although they look like a bargain and may even work like the real thing the quality control of the product just doesn’t exist, so the batteries that are powering the device may not be up to scratch when it comes to their safety they may explode when used or charged. Samsung had a similar problem with one of their Galaxy brand phones exploding (although not attributed to fake batteries it still caused serious brand issues for Samsung as Aaron Brown of the Express reports in his newspaper article (Samsung Galaxy S7 Explosions) it still caused issues for the people that owned these phones.

On the darker side of purchasing a preloved mobile phone especially when you don’t know its history is that it could have been used for just about any purpose that you could possibly imagine from terrorism, people trafficking and even the paedophilia. The advent of the internet and the use of the mobile phone has made all of these activities much easier to carry out. Although there are branches of law enforcement that deal with these activity they aren’t able to deal with all of as there is just too much of it going on, these means that the phone you think is the bargain is just a problem on your doorstep that the law could be looking for and it’s not always going to be the perpetrator that gets caught. It’s going to be the person that is in possession of the device YOU. Unless you are purchasing a phone from a reliable source or from someone that you know well and trust I would strongly advise against buying the phone despite how much of a bargain it may well be – there’s a reason as to why the cost of the phone is such a bargain. This brings me nicely onto my next point in this article – Tablet devices.

As our lives become more and more mobile we find that we are wanting thinks sooner and our patience to wait for the product we have ordered are waning. As a result there has been a huge explosion in the use of tablet devices that allow us to live our life on the go. However, just as with mobile phones you will find that these can be found at bargain prices as well, again this is a device that you need to be careful of unless you are buying it from a reputable source as you may find that some of them may have been used in ways that you aren’t quite comfortable with. This can range from online fraud (as was done with the traditional laptop or PC) to more elicit activity such as revenge porn. Of course all of these can be done with the traditional PC. However, as we use our mobile devices a lot more you may find that more and more of the illegal activity in particular the creation of virus and malware are aimed at these devices. The use of virus and malware can quite often occur without the user of the product even knowing that they are victims of this work. Virus and Malware can often cause the devices to act suspiciously but more often than not they work in the back ground never giving the user a clue that they are operating. This malware or virus could be used for criminal activity such as bank account hacking or even mean that your device becomes part of a criminal network of PC’s used as servers for the crims to carry out their crimes.

The statistics for viruses and malware usage are quite alarming in the second quarter of 2016 alone it was discovered by Kaspersky that the number of virus and malware had more than doubled since the 3rd quarter of 2015 from a little over 1 500 000 detected malicious packages to some 3 500 000 detected malicious packages. Some of these virus and malware range from the serious RiskTool (as described by Kaspersky is as – legitimate programs that can cause damage if they are exploited by malicious users – in order to delete, block, modify, or copy data, and disrupt the performance of computers or networks) to the less serious but still a threat Trojan virus and malware that can cause users of a device to unwittingly subscribe to a paid services that they didn’t want or request to join. All of this causing unnecessary PC Repairs that could all be avoided by either buying from a reputable source or buying a refurbished device from a reputable source.

Our advice is when looking at a preloved tablet computer to try and look into its history as we have discussed with mobile phones. If this isn’t possible we personally wouldn’t look at purchasing the device. We know it isn’t possible to examine a device online or in the shop to see if it has carried any virus or malware at any point but if what we would recommend is that when you get the device is to run a virus and malware scanner over it to see if there are any packages that may be installed on it either with or without the knowledge of the previous user before you use the device. There are a number of good antivirus and malware tools out there that can vary in price from the budget to what many would consider luxury prices it all depends on what you are doing with your device as to what we would choose (we are going to look at these antivirus at a later date). When looking at bargain tablet device just remember this there are companies out there that offer refurbished devices that are just as good as the latest model if it’s a bargain that you’re after. If it’s the latest tech that you’re after personally we would look in to payment schemes or a refurbished device from a reputable source rather than taking the risk with a tablet that might have a hidden criminal past. The past of a tablet device can be quite hard to hide as there is limited functionality of a tablet device in comparison to a PC – this brings me nicely on to how a PC can cause you problems and may even require PC Repairs as a result.

The first PC’s were nothing more than a mechanical difference engines engineered by Charles Babbage in the early 19th century to perform basic functions such as navigation calculations. However fast forward 200 years and we have the computer that we would all know and recognise today whether that be in the Windows platform or the Apple platform. Both platforms though have a series of common dangers that they share. These dangers that they share are dangers that all preloved tech shares as we have discussed earlier. However, the computer being in use for much longer has found its way into many more homes and businesses across the country and of course across the globe. As a result all of the dangers that we have discussed earlier the computer is a much risker product to be purchasing on the preloved market. Because of the much higher risk that is involved with a pre loved PC we wouldn’t recommend buying one from the preloved market instead we would either look at the refurbished market from a trusted supplier, failing that we would look at a machine that has a slightly lower spec but is still capable of performing the tasks that you throw at it.


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