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Flawed Android factory reset leaves crypto and login keys ripe for picking

Written by Arstechnica
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  • Arstechnica
  • 2 years ago

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An estimated 500 million Android phones don’t completely wipe data when their factory reset option is run, a weakness that may allow the recovery of login credentials, text messages, e-mails, and contacts, computer scientists said Thursday.

In the first comprehensive study of the effectiveness of the Android feature, Cambridge University researchers found that they were able to recover data on a wide range of devices that had run factory reset. The function, which is built into Google’s Android mobile operating system, is considered a crucial means for wiping confidential data off of devices before they’re sold, recycled, or otherwise retired. The study found that data could be recovered even when users turned on full-disk encryption.

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