Avast! the anti-virus and Internet security company have released a study showing how even factory wiped smart phones can still contain plenty of personal information. In their
thinly veiled advertisement for their Android Anti-Theft app, they provide some specifics about what they found. Keep reading for more information.
Avast purchased and analyzed 20 used smartphones that were previously wiped, or factory reset. Jude McColgan outlined some of their findings:
“The amount of personal data we retrieved from the phones was astounding. We found everything from a filled-out loan form to more than 250 selfies of what appear to be the previous owner’s manhood,” said Jude McColgan, President of Mobile at AVAST. “We purchased a variety of Android devices from sellers across the U.S. and used readily available recovery software to dig up personal information that was previously on the phones. The take-away is that even deleted data on your used phone can be recovered unless you completely overwrite it.”
“Selfies of the previous owner’s manhood” is probably the most polite way of describing those type of pictures that I’ve seen. They went on to detail exactly what they found. Keep in mind, this was from only 20 cell 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 what appear to be 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
- Four previous owners’ identities
- One completed loan application
The takeaway that Avast! would like you to have is that prior to selling your device, you should not only factory reset, but also use their Anti-Theft app to thoroughly wipe and overwrite all data on the device. I’m poking a bit of fun at their obvious advertisement, but it is definitely an important thing to consider. I’ve used Avast! anti-virus on my computer for years and even have their mobile app installed, so I trust that their software does what they say it will. Though they’d obviously like you to use their products, it’s still important to realize that your factory reset phone might not be quite as reset as you’ve been lead to believe.Source: Avast!