Software maker Avast is calling the security and thoroughness of Android’s factory reset feature into serious doubt today. The company says it purchased 20 used Android smartphones online and set out to test whether personal user data could be recovered from them. Each phone had been reset prior to being sold, according to Avast, so in theory the test should have failed miserably. But that’s not what happened.
Using widely available forensic software, Avast says it was able to successfully pull up over 40,000 photos previously stored on the phones. Many of those featured children, and others were sexual in nature with women in “various stages of undress” and hundreds of “male nude selfies.” The company also managed to recover old Google search queries, emails, and texts. All told, Avast successfully identified four original phone owners using data that those people falsely assumed had been permanently deleted. Users must overwrite previous data to truly get rid of it, Avast says.www.theverge.com