Selling Your Mobile Device? Don’t Sell Your Data Along With It

It’s been a couple of years and your phone’s showing signs of age – scuffs on its once clear exterior, battery life that wanes in mere minutes, and a substantial wait time when powering on and off.

So, you start to ask yourself, “Is it time for an upgrade?”

Getting a new mobile device can be an exciting time for multiple reasons. Not only do you get a new toy to play with and configure, but also if you’ve kept your old phone in good condition, hopefully you’ll be able to sell it for a bit of a price break.

However, just as you wouldn’t move from one house to the next without first securing all your belongings, you don’t want to sell your mobile device without first removing all your data. In the wrong hands, it’s possible your data could become exposed.

Android’s factory-reset option has traditionally been a good go-to for those looking to rid their phones of leftover data and prime them for sale. Unfortunately, as recent data goes to show, the factory reset just isn’t enough for wiping everything off of your Android phone.

This issue stems from a problem in the phone’s flash memory, which limits how often certain data can be overwritten. In order to prolong the life of your mobile device’s hard drive, the factory-reset will essentially skip over certain pieces of information – categorizing them as logically deleted, which means they are not actually overwritten or removed from your phone.

As security researchers found, this leaves sensitive data such as passwords, login tokens and texts discoverable by someone with the right knowhow and the wrong intentions. Login tokens are especially concerning, as they are a prime target for thieves looking to compromise all of the apps on your mobile device – and the data they hold.

Luckily, there is a simple and quick fix for this issue – encryption!

If you plan to get rid of your Android phone or resell it, head to your security settings and opt to encrypt your device prior to performing a factory reset. This will ensure that any un-erased data is scrambled, and rendered useless to outside eyes.

Another great way to protect sensitive data and ensure your personal information stays safe? Installing comprehensive security software on your mobile device. McAfee® Mobile Security is free for both Android and iOS-based phones, and offers a variety of protections against the latest mobile threats.

And as always, to keep up with the latest security threats, make sure to follow @IntelSec_Home on Twitter and like us on Facebook.