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July 9, 2014

Wiped Your Phone? Think Again

Study Shows Many Leave Information Behind on Android

Wiping may not leave your Android phone as clean as you think.

logo-horiz-gray-CMYK-30mmWhile many users tend to believe they can clean personal information off their device using a phone’s factory reset option, a new study shows that may not be the case. In fact, the study completed by Avast — a security software company — shows users may be leaving behind more information than they believe.

To prove it, Avast purchased 20 phones through eBay and started scanning them for information. The results were surprising.
What was collected? From the Ssmartphones, Avast employees extracted 40,000 photos — a good number of which were nude selfies —- along with 250 contacts, nearly 800 e-mails and text messages and one completed loan application.

Avast’s mobile division president Jude McColgan told CNet the issue is that people are still oblivious to how much information is stored on their smartphones.

“Users thought they were doing a clean wipe and factory reinstall,” he told CNnet.

However, the factory reinstall is cleaning phones “only at the application layer,” said McColgan.

The information was all removed using FTK imager, a tool that is easily accessible and can be downloaded free.

VR-Zone reported Avast also used the XDA developer forum, something used by experts and programmers to share knowledge when it comes to mobile devices. The employees even used one of Android’s own tools, the Android Debug Bridge to make a backup of all data on a phone without needing to unlock it.

According to Avast’s report, only 14 percent of Americans bother with antivirus software on their Ssmartphones and less than 10 percent employ software meant to completely wipe a phone’s memory.


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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