News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
GET RECOGNIZED
Let an ISACA® certification elevate your career.
Register today and save
You are here: Home / Small Business / Data Recovered from 'Wiped' Phones
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
Think You've Wiped Those Old Android Phones? Think Again
Think You've Wiped Those Old Android Phones? Think Again
By Barry Levine / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
JULY
09
2014


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.

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
TOP STORIES NOW
MAY BE OF INTEREST
Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.
MORE IN SMALL BUSINESS
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Who Is the Hacker Group Lizard Squad?
Are they dangerous or just obnoxious? That’s what many are wondering about the hacker group Lizard Squad, which tweeted out a bomb threat that grounded a flight with a Sony exec aboard.
 
Are Government Spies Tipping Off Tor?
Less than a month ago, tech news headlines heralded a Tor Project breach. Now, some are saying that government spies are sharing information with Tor to help it prevent future breaches.
 
Backoff Malware Hits 1,000+ Businesses, Likely More
More than 1,000 businesses across the U.S. might have been affected by Backoff, a new kind of point-of-sale (PoS) malware, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 
Alert: HP Recalls 5 Million Notebook AC Power Cords
HP is recalling about 5.6 million notebook computer AC power cords in the U.S. and another 446,700 in Canada because of possible overheating, which can pose a fire and burn hazard.
 
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 
Verizon Hops on the Voice-Over-LTE Bandwagon
Wireless provider Verizon is gearing up for a nationwide launch of its Voice-over-LTE service over the next several weeks, promising clearer and crisper phone calls and a Skype-like video service.
 
Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Law in California; Will Other States Follow?
California’s new law -- signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday -- aimed at deterring cellphone theft could mean most mobile phones sold in the U.S. will soon include similar “kill-switch” tech.
 

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.