Android is constantly accused of various shortcomings, mostly related to piracy, viruses and the lack of security of data. And now, a new experiment says that the situation is even worse than you think — even a full reset of data is not a guarantee that an attacker will not be able to recover information from your smartphone or tablet. What is particularly unpleasant, is under threat of not less than 500 million devices with a “green robot”.
Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered a vulnerability mechanism for the deletion of data when you reset to factory settings on smartphones on the Android platform. They bought 21 a used device on eBay (Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola) in different years, including representatives from the Nexus line, each unit has been reset to its factory state.
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The experts succeed in 80% of cases to restore the data to synchronize the device with your Google account previous owner — contacts, mail, apps, and other data appeared again in the gadgets. In some cases, the recovery procedure yielded even SMS messages and correspondence through a third-party messengers, as well as account recovery Facebook. The disappointing conclusion of the experts: more than half a billion devices can’t completely erase your data from the phone memory and about 630 million do not cope with memory cards.
Separately, an experiment was performed with encryption and then resetting gadgets. In this case, access becomes much more difficult, however, there is a need to use complex passwords. In addition, newer smartphones proved to be more resistant to these manipulations: “the Reasons for this behavior are complex. New phones, as a rule, better than the old ones, and the phones of its own brand Google is better than OEM. However, producers should try to work on it, and users should be more careful”.
The experiment was conducted on smartphones running Android versions 2.3 through 4.3. Samples with more current systems researchers at Cambridge University for unknown reasons, did not check. It is possible that the gap has already closed in new systems. But do not forget about the number of devices at older versions and sluggishness at manufacturers upgrading gadgets — this security hole is very serious. I hope that early information about the growth of security in Android M will be truthful.
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