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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    On the S4 section of this site, this guy is asking for help because hes trying to erase his phone and wants to make 1000000% sure no one can retrieve his personal info.
    Some of the posts there are saying basically anyone that roots a phone can "recover" all, some, or most of your personal info and restore that info during the root process.

    If I can't erase and install the OS without fear of someone getting to my stuff by doing a simple root / recovery. I can't do an android device at all.
    I can hook up an iPhone to a computer and completely erase the OS and root user and reinstall the OS and not worry about my stuff getting into someones hands.
    I use my phone for WAY too much personal info to have to worry about this at all.

    Please be honest. If this is true. This will be my last post on android boards and I appreciate everyone who answered questions while I was thinking about trying android.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    It's true, even for you iOS device. ALL DEVICES can be recovered with the right tools. ALL. OF. THEM. It's not an Android thing, and no, you don't need root to recover it just as you don't need to jailbreak your iPhone to do it. Anyone with the savvy will get it done.

    That being said, it's not an easy task and it's not something anyone will know how to do successfully. You can install and erase the OS just in the same way as you do on an iDevice (even easier, because you can do it right from your phone) and yes, it'll wipe out ALL DATA and ALL OS DATA from your phone. Problem is that no device performs a low-level format, so the data is still there, just not accessible. Unless you overwrite it, anyone with the right tools can recover it. Again, this is true for ALL DEVICES, not just Android, and it's not the easiest task in the world.

    Definitely you can't 'root' and 'recover' the data in a simple menu setting. You need the data forensic tools to do it.

    BTW, you may have misunderstood what he meant by 'someone rooting and getting access to his data by recovery'. It's not like you can root a phone and voil! the data is open. No. What he wanted to do was to try some recovery tools for PC, but those require your device to be connected to the PC as a Mass Storage device, which Google removed from Android 4 and up... To 'regain' this Mass Storage Mode so that your PC can see the phone as another, regular drive that can be used with those recovery tools you do need to root your phone and install a hack (just as you would need to jailbreak and install the app to see your iPhone as a regular USB Stick). Even when someone does this, it's not feasible that these PC tools will be able to recover most of the data since it's usually encrypted and not in the same format a PC is 'used' to seeing. Again, you need the right tools to recover it, and it applies to any device from any OS.
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  3. #3  
    Jennifer Stough's Avatar
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    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    I am not the most practiced in this, but this is what I have gathered so far. If I am wrong, I am sure someone will correct me.

    When you root your phone, you have to do a full data wipe. This can be recovered afterwards if you used a recovery program, yes. These programs are designed so that you can pick up where you left off at after flashing a new Rom. If you did not save a recovery file, I believe it is impossible to obtain that information again, best you can do is try to flash a copy of the original Rom. This will make your device functionable, but all data will have been lost. However, you do not need to root your phone to be able to wipe your data. There are apps that allow you to remotely wipe your phone (from another device, like a computer) in the event that it were to be lost or stolen.

    Edit: I agree with the poster above me that some how, some way, the information could be obtained. But not by your average Joe who found your phone on the side of the street and wants to see if he can access your bank account. It would take a professional with professional grade equipment.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Android Central Forums
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  4. #4  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    Hey Jennifer.. You kinda got it right, but not entirely. You don't need to wipe data to root. You don't even need to wipe data to install a new ROM, it's just encouraged (and some ROM developers even make it mandatory just in case). The recovery program you're talking about applies to ROM installations or OS modifications and yes, to recover data in there, you had to make a backup file first. If there's no deliberate backup file present, you can't pick up where you left off.

    What people are worried about here is that when you wipe all your data from a phone (pictures, documents, etc.), someone with the right tools can actually recover those files, even if you wiped them from your phone (this is true for all brands).

    HOWEVER, if you're reaaaaally that worried about your data, you can always encrypt your device and even SD card contents (there's an option for that in the settings). When you encrypt, even if someone does get your files out after wiping, they can't really access them unless they crack the encryption code (remember, when these tools 'recover' files all they do is recover the 1's and 0's... by using standard formats they can convert those to normal pictures and documents, but if the data is encrypted, the standard formats will come out with garbled information). After all, only Samsung and Apple passed the Pentagon's certification for data security as a BlackBerry replacement, remember? It's all in the encryption.
    Jennifer Stough likes this.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    It's not an easy thing to do, and the forensic tools to do it are extremely expensive. I have a close family member who is a digital forensics expert. Out of the iPhone's, the iPhone 4 is the toughest phone to recover erased data from, and some of it cannot be. Rooted Androids are generally easier, but that also depends on how the user sets their phone up, ie encryption options, which if you really have that much personal info on your phone works be no-brainer.

    Btw, no matter what you hear, there is No such thing as "safe" e-commerce. There are ways to be more safe about what you're doing but nothing is 100% safe.
    Imo nobody should have that much personal info on their phone.
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  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    Ok, this helps a Lot because that other guy was making it sound like all you had to do was root and go into a recovery mode and just simply "stumble upon" the last users full info and restore it and just have a day at going thru that users info.
    in other words, he was making it sound like any joe schmo ***** that could watch a youtube video and root, could basically stumble upon all my stuff and restore it easy peasy.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    With the right tools anything is possible, that doesn't mean anybody can just do it though. For 3 years I studied digital evidence extraction and recovery not only computers but cell phones and so on. Yes it is possible but it requires the tools to do so, they aren't the type of tools that you can just go online and easily download. Not only does it take the tools but also somebody that knows what they're doing, and by that i don't mean watching a video or reading an article online. Let's say somebody does recover the data, then they have to have the knowledge and tools to interpret it as well as restore it. It's not something the general public knows how to do or has access to the equipment to do so. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Sent from my VS930 4G using Android Central Forums
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  8. #8  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    I've read suggestions of filling up the storage after a wipe and then wiping it again so that the old data gets written over.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Outrager View Post
    I've read suggestions of filling up the storage after a wipe and then wiping it again so that the old data gets written over.
    That's why they say if to you delete something from your computer the first thing to do using it and take it in. Once that data is overwritten it can't be recovered. You would have to completely fill the storage on the phone and overwrite it several times because there is no pattern to how data is written.

    It's always possible to recover anything if you have to right tools and right amount of money.

    Sent from my VS930 4G using Android Central Forums
  10. #10  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by thatotherdude24 View Post
    That's why they say if to you delete something from your computer the first thing to do using it and take it in. Once that data is overwritten it can't be recovered. You would have to completely fill the storage on the phone and overwrite it several times because there is no pattern to how data is written.

    It's always possible to recover anything if you have to right tools and right amount of money.

    Sent from my VS930 4G using Android Central Forums
    Luckily there's a point where it's just too expensive to do it unless you work with the equipment so most common thieves won't bother.
  11. #11  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Outrager View Post
    Luckily there's a point where it's just too expensive to do it unless you work with the equipment so most common thieves won't bother.
    Agreed. It's also not equipment that is available to the public in some cases and is far more complex than watching a video or reading an online article how to do it.

    Sent from my VS930 4G using Android Central Forums
  12. #12  

    Default Re: The question that will determine if I go android at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Outrager View Post
    Luckily there's a point where it's just too expensive to do it unless you work with the equipment so most common thieves won't bother.
    To me, it would be more of "Are you worth the thief's time and effort?"

    They only have so much time on their hands; are they going to bother with the common layman on the street? If I were a crook, and had his iphone, I would sooner sell it for the cash than bother trying to find out what he last ate for dinner. :P

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