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Selling your Android phone? Encrypt it first before doing a factory reset

Selling your old Android smartphone is a great way to get some quick cash, but the possible treasure of information it contains is potentially worth more to hackers and identity thieves. If you think a factory reset is enough to swipe your sensitive data from an old smartphone, think again.

As shown in a recently published University of Cambridge study, all it takes to retrieve valuable information from Android devices—even if they’ve been factory reset—is using recovery tools that almost anyone can buy online. With these tools, you can recover images, passwords and chat history files. The problem with factory reset is the fact that it merely designates the space that contains your data as empty and overwritable, when in fact the data remains intact.

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So instead of the mere act of factory reset alone, encrypt your device beforehand. Use a strong encryption key to make it harder for hackers to decrypt your data. It’s simple way to significantly reduce the chance of your data from being recovered. All except the most antiquated versions of Android have this feature in their phone’s system settings.

[Via TheVerge]

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