I bought the iPhone 4 a few months ago and I still love it. And luckily there is a cell phone tower 200 yards north of me, so even if I use my left handed kung fu grip on the antenna, I don’t drop calls. But I decided to keep my older Verizon account as it’s kind of a family plan deal, and I figured just in case the iPhone failed I would have a backup. And I could get rid of all the costly plan upgrades and have just a simple phone. But not so fast! Trying to get rid of the data and texting features on the old Blackberry is apparently not an option. If you use a Blackberry I guess you are obligated to get a bunch of stuff you don’t need because, from what the Verizon tech told me, they can’t centrally disable data features native to the phone. WTF?

Fine. I now go in search of a cheap entry level phone to use with Verizon that can’t do email, Internet, textng, or any of those other ‘advanced’ things. Local Verizon store wants another $120.00 for a $10.00 entry level phone. My next stop is Craigslist, where I find a nice one year old Samsung phone for $30.00. Great condition and works perfectly. Now I try to activate it. I can’t. The phone was stolen. The new owner won’t allow the transfer.

I track down the real owner and we chat for a while. A nice lady who told me the phone was stolen from her locker at the health club. I give her the phone back, and after hearing the story, she is kind enough to give me one of her ancient phones as a parting gift. It’s not fancy and it works, so I activate the phone on my account. The phone promptly breaks 2 days after I get it. So I pull the battery, mentally write off the $30.00 and forget all about it.

Until I got the phone bill on the 1st. Apparently there is some scam going on that a company will text you then claim you downloaded a bunch of their apps and charge you for it. The Verizon bill had the charges neatly hidden on the second page, and did not specify which phone. Called Verizon support and was told this vendor sent data to my phone, and the phone accepted it. I said it was amazing that a dead phone with no battery had such a remarkable capability. After a few minutes discussing the issue, Verizon said they would reverse the charges … apparently they called the vendor and the vendor did not choose to dispute the issue. I simply hung up at that point as this inadvertent discovery of manual repudiation processes left me speechless. I recommend you check your phone bill.

Cellular technology is outside my expertise but now I am curious. Is the cell network really that wide open? Were the phones designed to accept whatever junk you send to them? This implies that a couple vendors could overwhelm manual customer services with bogus charges. If someone has a good reference on cell phone technology I would appreciate a link!

Oh, I’ll be speaking at OWASP Phoenix on Tuesday the 7th, and AppSec 2010 West in Irvine during the 9th and 10th. Hope to see you there!

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Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Brian Keefer, in response to DLP Questions or Feedback.

Have you actually seen a high percentage of enterprises doing successful DLP implementations within a year of purchasing a full-suite solution? Most of the businesses I’ve seen purchase the Symmantec/RSA/etc products haven’t even implemented them 2 years later because of the overwhelming complexity.