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Careful, a Factory Reset on Your Droid May Not Wipe Everything
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Careful, a Factory Reset on Your Droid May Not Wipe Everything

A modicum of caution the next time you plan to factory-wipe your Android device: the process may leave some bits be...

Careful, a Factory Reset on Your Droid May Not Wipe Everything

A modicum of caution the next time you plan to factory-wipe your Android device: the process may leave some bits behind. Engineers at Avast Software wanted to test the Factory Delete feature on Android phones, so they logged onto eBay and bought twenty factory-wiped Android phones.

 

Once they had their hands on the phones, they used regular, commercially available recovery software to see what they could salvage. The results aren’t promising: over 40,000 photos were recovered, among them baby photos, women in “various stages of undress,” as well as male nude selfies. Among the loot were also 1,000 Google searches, 250 contact names and addresses, and 750 emails and texts.

 

 

Although Avast managed to identify only four of the twenty previous owners, they still recovered a sizable amount of sensitive and incriminating data.

 

“Along with their phones, consumers may not realize they are selling their memories and their identities,” says Jude McColgan from Avast.

 

“Images, emails, and other documents deleted from phones can be exploited for identity theft, blackmail, or even stalking purposes. Selling your used phone is a good way to make a little extra money, but it's potentially a bad way to protect your privacy.”

 

Here’s where it all turns into a publicity stunt: Avast has built an app that overwrites and permanently deletes the personal data on your phone. Things get more suspect when you look at the fact that Avast didn’t release any info on which phone models and Android builds they purchased.

 

Still, it always pays to be safe. Take care when storing any potentially damaging data on your devices, and make sure to explore all avenues when deleting your data before selling or giving away your old Android device.

 

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