Go to contents

`Personal data easily retrieveable in used smartphones`

Posted October. 31, 2012 02:08,   


A test has found that a user`s personal information on a used smartphone can be restored in an easy step.

Industry news reporters of The Dong-A Ilbo and an anonymous informant ran a test with a data restoration program that is easily available on the Internet. The data initializing function provided by Google’s Android operating system was found to be useless.

Four kinds of used smartphones were tested: Samsung Electronics` Galaxy S2, LG+U’s Optimus One, Motorola’s Moto Glam and Apple’s iPhone4. The program failed to restore information only on the iPhone.

Eight mouse clicks were enough to restore personal data on a smartphone. The program brought back deleted pictures, document files and text messages. The restored files included a picture of a personal ID card that the user took to cancel the phone contract, the user`s social security number, a key card needed to perform online banking, and family pictures.

Google, which provides Android to mobile phone makers, claims that selecting the option “Wipe Data/Factory Reset” will initialize all settings and delete all data on the device. This turned out to be false, however.

Restored Samsung and Motorola phones had the latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and the LG phone had an older Froyo. This means that Google did not include a complete deletion function while upgrading Android to the latest version.

Around five million to 10 million used smartphones are estimated to be smuggled to China and Hong Kong.

coolj@donga.com jjy2011@donga.com