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Think Your Android Is Wiped Clean? Survey Says Something Else

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BlackBerry Smartphone

File photo. (credit: istock.com)

By Edward Cardenas

SOUTHFIELD (CBS Detroit) – A recent survey of Android phones purchased online found data that owners who thought their personal information was removed from the device was still available after restoring the device to factory settings.

Avast!, an anti-theft software company, posted a blog on its Webpage stating the company purchased 20 used Android phones off eBay and used recovery software to restore deleted files.

According to the blog post, analysts found on the phones:

  • More than 40,000 stored photos,
  • More than 1,500 family photos of children,
  • More than 750 photos of women in various stages of undress,
  • More than 250 selfies of the previous owner’s manhood,
  • More than 1,000 Google searches,
  • More than 750 emails and text messages,
  • More than 250 contact names and email addresses,
  • One completed loan application.

This issue appeared to be unique to Android phones. iPhones and iPads include hardware encryption, which makes recovering data difficult, according to Mashable.

Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Det. Tom Gemel, of the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement team, questioned the techniques of the company but did offer some suggestions.

He stated it takes a large amount of “training” and “expertise” to retrieve deleted or semi-overwritten data.

Gemel recommended restoring the smart phone to factory settings and removing the SD card to clear personal information. He added that if individuals were selling the older flip phones, remove the SIM card to protect personal information.

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