Android Phone Reset Isn't Wiping User Data as Expected
Published on: 26th Aug 2014
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
Tablet and smartphone users should think twice about relying on factory resets to remove personal and business data before trading in, reselling or donating mobile devices. Recently reported investigations have revealed the easy accessibility of data on reset Android devices, underscoring the importance of software overwriting for full erasure, according to Blancco.
The report highlighted two investigations of Android devices retrieved from secondhand markets in the UK, one for tablets and another for smartphones. Both revealed how factory resets simply remove indexes to the data, rather than deleting it, so that researchers using relatively simple tools could gain access.
While Google recommends enabling encryption before a factory reset, the data remains on the device and is still recoverable.
"For Blancco, these investigations are not surprising, as we realize that only software like our Blancco Mobile, which works at the device's operating system level to overwrite all data, can fully delete information," said Kim Väisänen, Managing Director of Blancco. "Consumers and businesses alike should make sure that a complete overwrite is performed with proven software, meaning they should research what processes their phone carriers or buy back and return programs are using."
Blancco Mobile has been TÜV tested and approved for data erasure, and is also DIPCOG approved for use by the UK Ministry of Defense.
"The lesson here that mobile device users need to confirm that their phone carrier, mobile network operator or point-of-sale provider uses advanced overwriting software like Blancco Mobile, which actually provides a detailed, auditable report to prove erasure and provide peace of mind," said Väisänen.