Have you ever employed the use of factory reset to wipe (so you thought) the data clear on your phone so you could sell it or give it to a friend? In a truly serious warning, Avast, a security software company, uncovered some troubling information --
The team at security software company Avast purchased 20 different phones on eBay and unleashed data-recovery tools on them to see what they could find. The results are persuasive evidence that resetting your phone back to factory settings doesn't mean your data is gone forever.
From the 20 phones, Avast managed to recover 40,000 photos (including 1,500 family photos with children and 250 selfies of someone's "manhood"), 750 emails, 250 contacts with names and addresses and even files such as a loan application and a completed sexual harassment course. Predictably, some of the recovered photos were pornographic, as reported by VentureBeat, with one of the previous owners clearly a fan of anime porn, an Avast representative is quoted as saying.
Apple owners need not worry.
"You'll notice that the [Avast] story is about 20 Android phones, not iPhones," says Chris Bross, CTO of Drivesavers, a data-recovery service. "The recovery of data from an iPhone vs. an Android device is more challenging because of the protections that Apple puts in the security stack. Apple does a better job in their secure-wipe routine than what appears to happen with third-party apps on Android."
iPhones and iPads include hardware encryption, and when the user wipes the phone, the encryption keys are overwritten, a process that makes recovering data very difficult. The secure-wipe solutions on Android aren't nearly so consistent.
Thoughts? Anyone done this thinking they were safe to sell their device or to give it away?