Dangers of selling your cell

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Naked "selfies" were extracted from phones that were thought to have had everything wiped clean.

A report out earlier this week explained the experiment was designed to show the lack of precautions some smart phone owners take to protect their data.

With new smart phones coming out all the time, many choose to trade in their old phone for the latest version and sell their old phones for some quick cash.  The company behind the experiment advises you to think twice.

Avast, a company based out of the Czech Republic, purchased 20 "factory reset" Android phones on eBay.

A factory reset should erase data from your phone's internal storage, including information like your Google account, music, photos and other user data.

"Depending on the different manufacturers, they store information differently so you certainly need to be aware of that," Jim Bryant with iTechs in Jonesboro told Region 8 News.

Avast stated they were able to extract that data regardless of a factory reset and the tools they used to do so can be easily downloaded online.

Avast claimed they extracted 40,000 photos from those phones. Some were family photos but nearly a thousand were naked "selifes".

They also said Google searches, texts, contacts and even a completed loan application were retrieved from the factory reset phones. All information that was thought to be wiped, which Bryant said can be dangerous.

"It just depends on whose hand it falls in," Bryant said.

Bryant said a factory reset won't always do the trick.

With the many options nowadays to sell your cell, Bryant said if you do plan to sell your phone, remove your SIM and SD cards and do your homework, as all manufacturers are different.

"Be sure you've done everything that you can to pull personal information and you kind of have an idea of what you've stored on your phone, so if it's higher risk information, I'd be less likely to take advantage of a service like that."

Bryant also has advice for those very concerned about their information getting out.

"I would recommend that they keep their phone and not sell it at all," Bryant said. "Or destroy it on your own."

Google responded to Avast's claims, stating Avast used older model Androids in their experiment and that newer phones have encryption technology to prevent that.

Avast posted a blog explaining, in-depth, how they recovered the supposedly erased data and what exactly happens to a file once it's deleted.

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