Shoddy Android Factory Reset Exposes Private Data, Encryption Keys

May 24, 2015


The churn of devices, whether older smartphones being traded in or sold online, makes device sanitization imperative. The native feature in the OS, however, may not be doing as thorough a job as advertised.

A paper, “ Analysis of Android Factory Resets” (pdf), published by Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon of the University of Cambridge in the U.K., throws back the curtain on the incompleteness of Android Factory Reset, leaving as many as half a billion devices exposed to data loss, including credential theft and exposure of personal emails and chats.

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