Do you frequently buy and sell Android smartphones?
It is highly likely that you are leaving traces of your personal data even if you use the phone’s factory reset feature, before passing on the phone to a family member or selling it in second-hand market.
According to a new study by Cambridge University titled ‘Security Analysis of Android Factory Resets’ , factory reset feature option does not let you get rid of all your personal data. As part of the study, researchers tested 21 smartphones made by five different smart phone makers running Android 2.3 to 4.3.
Researchers found that all devices retained a part of the users’ old data which included pictures, SMS, e-mails and videos and contact information from third-party apps such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
What is more worrying was that this data was accessible even if full-disk encryption was used. Also, in most smartphones researchers were even able to get access to the master token to access the user’s Google data.
The study estimated that about 500 million Android phones are at risk.
Android is an open source platform which is owned by Google. It is most used Smartphone OS with 80% approximate market share. Latest update of Google is Android OS is called Lollipop, was unveiled almost a year back.