New research reveals two-thirds of second-hand memory cards contain personal data from previous owners | 6/29/2018 | Staff
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University of Hertfordshire research finds people aren't sufficiently erasing data before selling old memory cards from mobile phones, tablets and other connected devices.

New research finds that two-thirds of second-hand memory cards found in mobile phones or tablets and sold to the public still contain personal data from their previous owners. The study, commissioned by—the security and privacy reviews and comparison website, analysed data held and therefore sold on used memory cards. This analysis uncovered a host of personal information and sensitive materials, including passport copies, contact lists and identification numbers being passed from one person to the next.

Team - University - Hertfordshire - SD - SD

The team at the University of Hertfordshire purchased and analysed 100 used SD and micro SD memory cards from eBay, conventional auctions, second-hand shops, and other sources over a four-month period. They created a forensic image, a bit-by-bit copy, of each card, then used freely available software to recover data. The majority of cards were used in smartphones and tablets, while other devices also included cameras, SatNav systems, and even drones.

Data recovered from the used memory cards worryingly included personal information and sensitive materials such as intimate photos and selfies, passport copies, contact lists, navigation files, pornography, resumes, browsing history, identification numbers and other important personal documents.

Professor - Andrew - Jones - Professor - Cyber

Professor Andrew Jones, Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Hertfordshire said: 'This research uncovers the prevalence of second-hand memory cards providing a rich source of sensitive data, that could easily be misused if a buyer so wished. Despite the ongoing media focus on cybercrime and the security of personal data, it is clear from our research that the majority are still not taking adequate steps to remove all data from memory cards before sales.

'Particularly important is satellite navigation systems (SatNav) data, which can be used to determine the home location of the user, and...
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