How many people have sold or given away their Android phones, carefully resetting them in the mistaken notion that doing so removed all their personal data? The answer is, probably a lot. And we thought the same thing, that resetting wiped all the data.
So we were truly surprised to read about a report from mobile security firm Avast saying that it was able to recover private photos, contacts, owner identities and more using common tools that any hacker might possess. Ugh indeed.
Avast didn't have to resort to much magic to recover the data from the phones it acquired and imaged. One free tool it used was FTK Imager, which is very widely used and publicly available.
As is so often true, the company who brought the danger to light also makes a free tool to ensure your personal data is wiped. Avast! Anti-Theft may be found in the Google Play Store. There are several alternative apps that will wipe an Android mobile phone. These include Nuke My Device, Cerberus anti theft, and the premium version of GFI's Vipre Mobile.