AVAST Discovers Security Problem with Android Factory Reset
Many smartphone users rely on the built-in factory reset option available through devices running the Android mobile operating system. AVAST has discovered that this widely popular choice for wiping a smartphone is quite ineffective at erasing critical data, which poses a security risk for users. According to AVAST, employees of the security company purchased 20 smartphones from eBay and used fairly generic off-the-shelf digital forensics software to restore data. The restored data from these 20 smartphones includes more than 40,000 photos, 750 emails and text messages, 250 contacts, and the identities of four previous owners of some of the devices. AVAST was even able to restore a fully completed loan application on one of the smartphones that it purchased for this research study.
Jude McColgan, the AVAST Mobile Division President, noted that most users think that they are doing a clean wipe and a factory install with the Android factory reset option, but are actually only wiping their smartphones at the application layer.