Android is the most widely-used phone and app software in the world with major manufacturers including Samsung and HTC using it as an operating system for their phones and tablets. Up to 500 million Andriod users who use or have used Android software could be at risk from having personal information shared after tests revealed it’s impossible to clear data from many devices.
A report by Cambridge University depicted that private text messages, images, videos and email details can be recovered, even after a total wipe – or factory reset has been done.
It means that people who have given away, sold or lost phones are now at risk from having their personal details and any private or sensitive information in messages or emails seen by whoever now has their old phone. Many phone users used to store financial information in their handsets and even do banking through some of the most popular apps on tablets and phones.
Tests on a number of second-hand devices bought on eBay with various versions of Android software found that even if the user has the phone fully encrypted, information could still be accessed after a factory reset.
They also discovered that up to 630 million phones may not wipe internal SD cards, which often store most of the images and videos on a phone. It means that the user could wipe the limited information on the phone and sell or pass it on to another person who would still be able to access the majority of personal information, that phone holds.