Trail phone dating
The bottom line is, the stuff you thought you had gotten rid of is still there, if someone knows how to look.“There are always artifacts left behind,” explains Lee Reiber, who runs mobile forensics for Access Data.We wanted to see what kind of data was lurking on our devices, so we rounded up every old phone we could scrounge up from around the office and asked the owners to wipe them.Even if you use the built-in tools to wipe it, when you go to sell your phone on Craigslist you may be selling all sorts of things along with it that are far more valuable — your name, birth date, Social Security number and home address, for example.You may inadvertently sell your old photos, nudes and all.For example, one recovered image was a photo of a woman.We dropped this in Google’s reverse image search, and found a match.As it turns out, the Dare stored far more data after a wipe than another phone from the company, the LG Optimus, another Android phone.“If I was a bad guy, I’d use this LG,” says Reiber.“They do a very good job of cleaning up.”Reiber only managed to recover a few image files from the browser’s cache and the device’s phone number.
Simply restoring a phone to its factory settings won’t completely clear it of data.
Reiber says this suggests the phone or its memory had been refurbished.)It's worth noting that the i Phone 3GS and newer versions use a hardware encryption key which is deleted when the phone is wiped, but data was easily recovered from these older models.
The LG Dare was particularly interesting to us in advance because it’s a feature phone that wasn't running Android or i OS.
Courts can certainly get the data from your phone, and with the right gear, bad guys can too. And because Android cached application data to this SD card, Reiber could recover e-mail data as well — enough that we could positively identify the phone’s owner via his e-mail address.
But the real treasure trove was the photos and documents.