Android ‘Factory Reset’: Not so Perfect
The mass penetration of smart phones into the growing world market owes much to its operating system. The Android operating system is based on Linux kernel, developed by Google. The Android platform, its user friendliness and vast collection of the applications developed over years on this platform has undoubtedly made it a champion letting it retain the number one crown till date.
Even Apple’s iOS could only tail Android in terms of market share. Even Nokia which clung for long with Windows mobile OS had to rethink its firmness on the decision and now it has forcefully turned itself to Android as well.
We use smart phones for multiple purposes other than making and receiving calls. In fact today’s usage scenario if just the polar opposite. Most of us love to take photographs, from portraits to groups to selfies, most of which don’t actually find their way to permanent storage though.
Digitalization in photography has enabled us to click aimlessly without bothering much about the final product. All it means is a ‘select’ and a ‘delete’, if imperfect; as simple as that.
A fortnight ago a study on Android’s ‘factory reset’ option by security agency AVG has revealed something worth pondering. Though the retrieval of the deleted information from used phones isn’t possible by normal means, some special retrieval tools used generally in forensic department find it an easy walk with this.
AVG points whenever a file is deleted only the indexes leading to the specific areas in storage are alone dummied, while the actual file information is retained and could readily be retrieved by forensic tools which can access to the storage locations, even after the device underwent the ‘factory reset’. AVG during its study was able to reconstruct data from many sample devices, which ranged from nude selfies to private images.
In response to this Google has said up to android versions 4.0 are vulnerable to this but it claims to have written the later versions that this wouldn’t recur. So check your version and beware of it.