If you are planning to sell your Android phone for a new smartphone, chances are that your data might get extracted even after you delete all your data. A research by the Cambridge University shows that at least 500 million Android smartphones are flawed in the factory data reset function.
Yes, you read that right! While some of you might panic with the news. Let us explain you how the researchers conducted the study and the basis of their conclusion.
For their study, researchers tested 21 phones manufactured by Google, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung. In every test, researchers were able to retrieve text messages, Google account data and conversations on messaging apps. Not only this, 80 percent of the time, had few emails stayed backed on the tested Android versions from 2.3.x to 4.3 devices.
And wait for this! The researchers also found that that the ‘tokens’ in special apps that allows users to access Facebook and other social media accounts remained on the device. Another interesting finding was that the Android devices are not able to completely remove the special part of your phone that stores all your pictures and videos.
According to the researchers, around 630 million devices did not wipe SD cards and other places where pictures and videos are stored during the factory reset process.
The phones that had flawed factory reset function were the HTC One, HTC Sensation XE, Motorola Razr I, Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S Plus and others. Google Nexus 4 performed the best, yet, it faced problems.
Researchers explained that one of the reasons for this problem was because of no drivers that would permit NAND chips to be removed entirely. Also, it is pretty tough to wipe flash storage completely, because of which manufacturers have struggled to implement the factory reset functionality correctly.
The research, however, recommends several technical changes the factory reset option in Android to help enhance its effectiveness. But, a user at present cannot do much to prevent data recovery. Per Thorsheim, a cybersecurity expert in Norway gave a cruel advice on this to CNN Money. He said, “Don’t hand off your old phone. Smash it.”