The Edmond Sun

Features

July 14, 2014

Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

Going through phones that had supposedly been "factory reset," the company's researchers were able to view photos taken by the phone's original owners. In addition to the usual harmless photos of the family cat were naked selfies that the original owners would never have wanted anyone to see.

What's more, the researchers were able to do this simply by using a range of free smartphone forensic tools that are easy to use by technical enthusiasts as well as professional forensics experts.

How it works

Electronic data, stored either on a solid state drive or a traditional hard disk, persist even when we think we have wiped the storage device. Many readers will naturally assume that when you delete a file, it has been removed from your phone or computer.

The way it actually works is that the link (or reference) to the file is deleted, but the original file is still there - so that inappropriate selfie is still in your phone's storage even if you can no longer see it in the photo browser. What's worse is that, unless the file is fully overwritten, you may find that the dodgy pictures remain for some considerable time.

The issue spotted by Avast is that the "factory settings" feature of some older Android phones does not overwrite every "bit" of data; instead, it simply removes the file references.

Which phones are affected?

Based on their research, it is only Android devices that are affected. iPhones encrypt their storage, which adds a layer of strong security. So even if you could see that the data existed, you couldn't see what it was as you won't have access to the original security keys.

It would seem that Windows and Blackberry phones are not affected either. Researchers may yet discover issues, but as it stands there are no concerns.

How to protect your data

The best advice I can give if you intend to sell your Android phone is to first consider carefully how you may have used the device. If there are - or were - any pictures or data on the phone that you do not want to fall into the hands of others, then keep the phone, and do not sell or give it away.

There are also ways that you can encrypt your Android, and this is a technique worth considering.

But the only truly secure way to destroy the data is to smash the phone into little pieces, then throw it into a fire.

Personally, I prefer to store only impersonal and chaste data on my phone.



 

1
Text Only
Features
  • Fall gardening season has arrived

    Even though the temperature is hot and there are still summer vacations on the calendar, it is time to start thinking about planting your fall garden.
    Most Oklahoma gardeners are still reaping the rewards of their spring gardens, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist, but it is not too early to plan for fall gardening crops.

    July 23, 2014

  • Receive 10 free dogwood trees from Arbor Day Foundation

    Add color to your landscape year-round by joining the Arbor Day Foundation in August.

    July 23, 2014

  • Authorities update Simpson’s saga

    Investigators are attempting to locate the owner of a dog named Simpson to determine whether or not his injuries were due to an accident or man-made, an official said.
    On July 1, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigated reports of an injured dog near the intersection of Western and Simpson in south Logan County, Lt. Tom Kutay said. Officers responded and took several statements of a dog being found with injures to its back, Kutay said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
    Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shopping smarter for family necessities can help the environment

    There’s a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most.  In fact, two out of five people say they’re more inspired to try a natural product that does something good for themselves, their family and the planet, according to a recent study conducted by Toluna for natural products brand Tom’s of Maine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Back to school lunch Build a better bag

    Brown bag lunches and back to school go hand in hand. As you’re gearing up for the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to stock the pantry with healthy sack lunch options and after school snacks, too.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pets

    This is a list of animals that have been found and are at the Edmond Animal Shelter, at Interstate 35 and Covell in the Cross Timbers Municipal Complex. Call the shelter at 216-7615 for more information.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Cook Simple ways canned foods get children cooking

    When it comes to teaching children about healthy eating habits, there’s no better classroom than the kitchen.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls The Canebrake offers summer recipe for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls

    The Canebrake, a destination hotel and spa in Wagoner, is offering the following recipe from its restaurant for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls with Avocado Wasabi Puree.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 21, 2014