Your personal data is increasingly at risk in today's digital world. We told you earlier this week how your airline boarding pass can reveal details that can let anyone with online access view and even cancel your upcoming flights. Who would have thought?
Now there's another threat that you probably wouldn't imagine. When we sell our electronics like smartphones or flash drives on eBay, we wipe them clean first, right? A recent report says no, and that even when we've tried to wipe off our digital fingerprints, personal data remains that the purchaser can steal.
The report analyzed 122 used smartphones, flash drives and hard drives bought from eBay, Amazon and Gazelle between May and August of this year. It found 35% of the phones and 48% of the drives still had information like banking data, emails, texts, phone records, videos and pictures on them. And 57% of the phones with data on them and 75% of the drives showed that the previous owners had tried to wipe them clean.
Android phones were more likely to have residual data than iPhones - the factory reset on iPhones appeared to be sufficient for cleaning out the data. That's scary, given that the study also says more than a third of Americans recycle, sell or trade their phones every two to three years.
You need to know how to completely wipe all of your gadgets when you're through with them. Click here to learn how to actually wipe your Android. To learn how to securely wipe hard drives and other storage gadgets, click here. And for more on how to erase data on your old tablet, phone and PC, click here.