Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
UCS Invicta: Integrated Flash
Deploy flash memory technology to
deliver peak workload performance.

Find out more>>
Cloud Computing
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Think You
Think You've Wiped Those Old Android Phones? Think Again

By Barry Levine
July 9, 2014 10:30AM

    Bookmark and Share
Used smartphones are available for sale in the thousands. Security firm Avast noted that, on any given day on eBay, there are more than 80,000 used smartphones on sale. The take-away is that even deleted data on your used phone can be recovered unless you completely overwrite it, according to Avast.
 


You know those Android phones you thought were wiped of confidential data before you or your business got rid of them? Security firm Avast Software has found the data may still be recoverable.

The Prague-based company bought 20 used Android smartphones, and was able to recover tens of thousands of personal files. They included personal photos, e-mails, text messages, and even nude selfies of the owners.

The inventory of recovered files included some 40,000 photos, including more than 1,500 family photos of children, 750 photos "of women in various stages of undress," and 250 selfies of nude men. There were also 1,000 Google searches, 750 e-mails and text messages, 250 contact names and e-mail addresses, four previous owners' identities, and even one completed loan application.

Amount of Data 'Astounding'

Jude McColgan, Avast's President of Mobile, said in a statement that "the amount of personal data we retrieved from the phones was astounding."

The Android devices were purchased from a variety of sellers in the U.S., according to the company. The previous owners of the phones had all performed a factory reset or a "delete all" command to remove their data. Generally available recovery software, rather than specialized tools, were used to retrieve information that supposedly had been erased.

"The take-away," McColgan said, "is that even deleted data on your used phone can be recovered unless you completely overwrite it."

Used smartphones are available for sale in the thousands. Avast noted that, on any given day on eBay, there are more than 80,000 used smartphones on sale.

Consumers and businesses who thought they were getting rid of empty devices, McColgan said, "may not realize they are selling their memories and their identities." He pointed out that these kinds of files, in the wrong hands, can be used for identity theft, blackmail or even stalking.

Strict Policies and Procedures

Avast itself, as one might expect, offers a wipe app that it says does the trick. A variety of other techniques, apps and steps that purport to accomplish the same purpose are also available online.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, pointed out to us that this problem is complicated in those companies that have a "bring your own device" policy.

In those cases, she said, containers -- such as those offered by Samsung (to be available in the next version of the Android OS) and BlackBerry -- can separate business files from personal ones, thus at least collecting the problem data.

For those files, and in other cases, DiDio advised that companies maintain and enforce "strict policies and procedures that basically mandate you follow specific guidelines" to remove the critical files to the satisfaction of the IT department. She noted that attention to this is especially important in small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs), which are "less able to sustain damages" resulting from confidential information ending up in the wrong hands.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Jack L.:

Posted: 2014-07-09 @ 12:59pm PT
Stories like this often cause the problems. Should have contacted businesses quietly. Not bad actors will be looking for the data.



Get Powerful App Acceleration with Cisco. In a world where time is money, you need to accelerate the speed at which data moves through your data center. Cisco UCS Invicta delivers powerful, easy-to-manage application acceleration for data-intensive workloads. So you can make decisions faster and outpace the competition. Learn More.


 Cloud Computing
1.   Microsoft Ruling Raises Privacy Concern
2.   Oracle To Buy TOA Technologies
3.   Oracle Releases a Slew of Upgrades
4.   Cloud Wars: AWS vs. Microsoft, IBM
5.   Yammer Moved to Office 365


advertisement
Amazon Intros Zocalo Storage Service
Online storage and sharing for business.
Average Rating:
Avaya Pressing Hard on Cloud-Based UC
Provides easier, faster provisioning.
Average Rating:
Cisco Woos More Devs with DevNet
To create new network-aware apps.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Ruling Against Microsoft Raises E-Mail Privacy Concern
Microsoft has been ordered to hand over e-mails to law enforcers in the United States as part of a criminal investigation, even though the e-mail is stored at a data center in Dublin,Ireland.
 
Twitter Buys Password Manager Startup Mitro
Following on the heels of another acquisition earlier this week, Twitter is adding to its fold a password-manager security startup called Mitro, which in turn is releasing its code as open source.
 
Government Requests for Customer Data Skyrocket
Requests for customer data from the government jumped 50 percent in the first half of 2014, according to Twitter, which received more than 2,000 requests for user info from gov't agencies.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.