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Faulty Factory Reset in Android Phones Retains Sensitive Data

Some Android Phones
Your Data can still be recovered after a Factory Reset

Researchers in Cambridge University have discovered that an estimated 500 to 630 million Android phones could leave critical data in phone storage after a factory reset have been applied.

The group of researchers tested 21 second hand Android phones that have already undergone factory reset and running on Android 2.3 to 4.3 from five different manufacturers.

At the end of the test the group of researchers in their report titled Security Analysis of Android Factory Resets claim they where able to recover some data, which were supposed to have been wiped by factory reset, in each of the phones tested.

Data recovered includes user contacts, images, videos, as well as conversations from messaging, SMS and email apps.

Even more worrying is the claim by the researchers that they were able to recover the master token, which Android uses to sync Google user data, in 80% of the Android phones tested.

This means that a hacker who recovers this master token can potentially use it to re-sync phone to the original owner’s email, contacts, etc. Tokens for other Apps like Facebook can also be recovered in similar way.

According to the researchers there are a number of reasons why this vulnerability exist. The first is that flash drives are inherently difficult to completely erase.

But, the major reason is that in some cases the manufacturer failed to load the Android phone with the drivers required for completely wiping data from the internal storage and SD cards.

This is a big headache for Android users and businesses who are planning to sell or give out their old phones, as factory reset was supposed to be a secure way to wipe data from the phone prior to getting rid of it.

This issue is even worse for users whose Android phone were stolen and hoping to use remote wipe to securely remove sensitive data from their phone

The Issue May be Worse

Note however, that because the research focused only on Android 2.3 to 4.3, this issue may well be present in Android  4.4 and beyond. It is also possible that other operating systems may have similar issues.

To be safe for now, change the password of your old Android phones you want to sell or giveaway to a more complicated one, before applying a factory reset.

Android could include Native Fingerprint authentication in version M

Android Fingerprint scanning
Fingerprint Authentication Could be coming to Android

Google could be adding native support for fingerprint authentication in the next version of its Android mobile OS (the Android M), a report by Buzzfeed claims. According to the report, the feature will be revealed this week at the Google I/O developer conference in San Fransisco also believed to be the venue for the official unveiling of the next version of Android.

Buzzfeed was quick to add that Google was yet to confirm this, so this is all just still in the realms of speculation.

If confirmed fingerprint authentication will enable users of Android devices to unlock their devices, login to sites and apps, as well as authenticate payments.

Although a couple of Android devices like the Galaxy S6 Edge supports fingerprint authentication, the support and functionality is limited and only a few developers get involved.

But with native support Google will probably provide an API or another democratic way for more developers get involved, which will make fingerprint authentication more mainstream than niche.

Although not yet confirmed fingerprint authentication will be pretty cool on Android.

LG G4 launch expected in Nigeria this June

LG G4 launch could happen this June
LG G4 launch
LG G4 launch could happen this June

LG’s latest flagship smartphone, the LG G4 could be launched in Nigeria during the Jumia Mobile Week megathon this June.

The Jumia mobile week, which is marked for June 1 to 7, 2015 is expected to be the biggest mobile phone sales event of 2015 with seven of Nigeria’s biggest mobile brands involved as Gold partners and all offering their latest models.

LG G4 launch has not yet been confirmed for Nigeria, but I have a hunch that the flagship smartphone will be unveiled during the event.

A number of new launches

A number of other mobile brands in Nigeria like Innjoo, Infinix, and Wiko already have new products to launch at the event, while brands like Tecno and Samsung with its Galaxy S6 will be offering their latest flagship.

But, my biggest reason for predicting LG G4 launch in Nigeria during the Jumia Mobile Week is the fact that the event coincides with LG’s global launch schedule.

It makes a lot of sense for LG G4 launch to happen during the largest mobile phones sales event of 2015, or LG a brand that is falling behind in mobile phone sales in Nigeria will be putting self in a disadvantage.

During the Jumia Mobile week megathon, consumers will get great deals on phones including free shipping nationwide from Nigeria’s largest online store and free introductory 3GB data from Nigeria’s leading mobile operator MTN.

This is why the event provides a great platform for brands like LG to push their best mobile devices. With LG a Gold partner at the event it very likely they negotiated the event schedule so that it falls during their LG G4 launch plans.

LG G4 features a brilliant 5.5-inch IPS display and runs Android 5.1 (Lollipop) on a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset with 3GB of RAM.