Monday, 12 January 2015

When discarding an unwanted smartphone, how careful are you ?

When discarding an unwanted smartphone, how careful are you  ?

Wiping to Protect Your Data Sometimes Isn’t Enough

How Wiping to Protect Your Data Sometimes Isn't Enougth
When discarding an unwanted smartphone, how careful are you to wipe all the data held on the device? A recent report published by Avast the Anti-Virus company, showed the surprising and horrifyingly lazy attitude people have when it comes to looking after their data.

Recovering Data

According to the Avast research, it bought 20 used phones from Ebay, they were able to recover data which amounted to 40,000 images (some compromising). 750 text messages, emails plus contacts e.g. names & numbers, also the names of four of the phone’s previous owners, with financial information and a lot more.
Due to the fact that all the handsets purchased, run on the Android operating system and had their data wiped using the default built-in method, this can only mean Android is in some way inferior when it comes to wiping data!
Data found on pre owned smartphones
However some may say that Avast has its own interests at heart publishing this research, due to the fact that it offers its own data wiping solution. But honestly the retrievability of wiped files is no secret for many of us technical-types.

It’s about the Memory

Many people do not realise the reality, which is wiping a device with memory doesn’t truly delete the data, instead it deletes pointers to the files wiped and makes the data available over-writing. Until the data is fully overwritten with new files, apps, music and images, it is possible to gather the data using special software, which is easy to come by.
If you’re reading this and thinking “Thank god I’m not using Android” think again! All mobile devices including desktop computers are at risk of this kind of data theft.


Is there a truly safe solution? While many security companies including Avast will tell you that using their advanced data wiping software is the best and only solution, there are many other ways to deal with your old data.
Encrypting data on an android phone
One simple method is to encrypt your phone before wiping it, this will leave all the data still on the phone after wiping encrypted and unindexed. These files are still open to being hacked but the act of encryption makes it much more difficult to do so!
There are even more complicated methods to wipe your data, involving computer software, though it’s up to you as to whether it’s worth the trouble or not. The big problem with all this is, wiping your phones data before selling doesn’t necessarily protect your privacy even though it should be more than enough.


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