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Secure Deletion

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By mike_1983, Member on 27th February 2014, 01:50 PM
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A few weeks ago there was something on the UK news about smart phone data and how when you sell/recycle your phone most people leave accessible data on the phone after a factory reset. There was lots of trying to shock people (reading out text messages and browser history) but the solutions were barely discussed, all that was said was something like "There are programs that can overwrite your data"

So what do people do when they sell their android phone? I've seen an app in the play store called nuke my device, it basically overwrites the internal SD card then does a factory reset, I'm still not sure that would totally erase all data though?
 
 
28th February 2014, 01:28 AM |#2  
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I know all about methods for PC hard drives, but I too wouldn't mind knowing how android systems should be handled.
28th February 2014, 09:01 PM |#3  
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Yeah I know about PC Hard drives too. I have bought the nuke my device app from the play store, its cheap, I haven't used it yet!
1st March 2014, 04:52 PM |#4  
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To block undeleters it's sufficient to fill space with "generic" data then delete the file

As for removing the chip and using an external programmers, some indeed expose raw memory over the pins (MTD chips) and there's no reasonable way to wipe the hidden areas (well, assuming you want a device that still works - otherwise there's the Cobra 6 method), others have on-chip mappers (all SD cards including eMMC) which can have a TRIM command -- which however has historically been a major cause of bricks on some controller firmwares...
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2nd March 2014, 01:28 PM |#5  
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When I posted I was looking at some similar threads, someone made a program that deleted everything on the phone except the recovery (then you could flash another rom - I don't know if it overwrote or just deleted) I think it was for an Asus transformer tablet.

Whenever I've sold something before I have just connected it to my computer and written large files to all the available space. I don't have any sensitive data but I like to make sure everything is deleted before I sell something.

I'm surprised there's not more information/apps or whatever on this subject (wiping android) there's lots of programs for PC's to securely wipe drives. Some sites mention about encrypting the phone then wiping it, I guess that's the way to go.
7th March 2014, 10:01 AM |#6  
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My first thought was too, that it must be different from hard drives.

My initial idea would be to encrypt everything. Luckily since Honeycomb, Android supports this out of the box(but it's not hardware based) So even if data can be restored, it'd be nonsense(if the manufactorer implemented it correctly). You could choose a strong password, because you won't need to remember it anyway since you wipe the phone afterwards.

I found this article that agrees with me androidcentral.com/securely-wiping-your-android-phone-makes-it-just-fine-sell-fud

Then there is this article on lifehacker: lifehacker.com/5808280/what-should-i-do-with-my-phone-before-i-sell-it

Money quote:

Quote:

Alternatively, there's the ultimate security tool if you're worried about someone pulling data from your phone: don't sell it.



A little off topic: Another solution would be to just store sensitive data on a SD card and remove it before selling. Plus you could use tools like EDS(Lite) to store sensitive data in container. Sync them via a cloud service and open them on your computer with TrueCrypt.
22nd November 2014, 07:07 PM |#7  
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Any updates how to do this?
22nd November 2014, 08:04 PM |#8  
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Boot into recovery and dd /dev/urandom over the /data, /cache and /sdcard partitions, then from the GUI reformat them...

Not perfect but well enough to prevent someone imaging from those partitions to their PC and running an undeleter (or hex editor) on the partition images!
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24th November 2014, 01:06 PM |#9  
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