If you are an Android smartphone owner and thinking of selling your device on eBay or Craigslist or anywhere; you will have to do something more than just ‘wipe’ your data in order to clear your personal files from the phone’s memory.
A recent study conducted by internet security research company Avast shows that even if you delete your personal data from your Android smartphone it will still be available somewhere within the device, and can be recovered by using some freely available software over the Internet.
Avast bought 20 secondhand Android smartphones from eBay for its research and the outcome from these devices came as a shocker to all the Android users.
The company found over 40,000 pictures, but the files were recovered even after the mobile users had deleted them well before selling the device on eBay. The more astonishing fact is that out of the 40,000 snaps, over 1,000 were nude selfies or sexually exploited.
Apart from the pictures, Avast was able to recover other important personal files like bank records, emails and text messages which were ‘wiped’ from the phone.
If you are an Android smartphone user and thinking of selling your device for a better one; here are some steps you should follow instead of running a normal ‘factory settings’.
1: The easiest and normal way for secured removal of your data from your Android smartphone before selling it to someone is the Encryption. This method should be performed when you are 100 percent sure of letting go of your smartphone and have already taken a good backup of all your files.
Encryption process takes longer time and the duration can increase depending on the amount of data stored in your phone. After encrypting your smartphone you will require a numeric PIN or password to decrypt your files every time your power on the device.
When you want to ‘wipe’ your data from the phone before selling, just reset your device to factory settings and get rid of all the worries.
Caution: As your device can be unencrypted by running factory reset only. Think before your encrypt.
2. If you don’t want to encrypt your device and still want to stay secured, here we go with the second method which is little tedious but works perfectly fine. You can delete all your files from the phone by performing data wipe (but take backup of all the files in advance). Once you are done with the wipe and your storage is empty, fill the entire memory with junk files and delete them again.
Perform this process for three times and your personal files are gone from your device. If someone tries to recover the files from your smartphone, all he will get is the junk you removed in the last attempt.
3. Here goes the third and the easiest option that comes from Avast. Download avast!Anti-Theft and install it. The application developed by Avast lets you control your Android Smartphone remotely and gives of the power of wiping the phone’s data even if you are away from the phone.