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Best way to securely delete everything?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by deslock, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. deslock

    deslock Member
    Thread Starter

    I'm exchanging my Nexus 7 because it's defective, and I restored to factory settings. Since that took only a couple minutes, it's obvious it wasn't a secure erase... what's the best way to do that?

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  2. kadimi

    kadimi Android Enthusiast

  3. seVer

    seVer Android Expert

    and what do you mean you restored to factory, but that wasn't a secure erase? the whole point of a reset is to wipe the device back to out-of-box status.

    if you want a REAL secure wipe, drop it in a tub of water and then smash the every loving isht out of it. can't access what's destroyed, right? (by the way, that was sarcasm. don't do this unless you plan on just buying another one)
  4. MartinS

    MartinS Android Expert

    Erase it, fill it with crap (movies, music...) erase again, repeat until paranoia settles.
  5. DC IT

    DC IT Member

    Sever is correct.
    There are ways to recover data from a wiped or fried hard drive so a mere wipe back to factory is not sufficient. But in most cases there is not much risk as it is unlikely that Google or the next owner will bother to recover your data.

    It is not prudent to store confidential data on a mobile tablet since it can easily be stolen.
    IMO, the N7 should primarily be used as an entertainment gadget.
  6. deslock

    deslock Member
    Thread Starter

    It's not out-of-box status as all my data is still on it and easily retrievable (even though it's been restored to "factory" settings).

    There are different degrees of "secure". I don't need to zero it out 35 times, but I'd rather not just erase it either. Would be nice if there was a built in option for that.

    I rooted my phone (VGN) but wasn't going to bother doing that on the Nexus 7 if I didn't have to. How will that help with a secure erase?

    It has the usual issues: flickering screen at low/medium brightness, loose/raised/clicking screen (on the left), and saturated screen after video. Hopefully some of that can be fixed via a patch, but not all of it.

    I had a feeling that was going to be the answer :D

    Oh for Pete's sake. I did that.

    My encrypted passwordDB was on it. Given the very strong password and 128-bit AES (~trillion years to brute force), I guess I won't worry about it. Still, I might overwrite the device once :D

    As always, it's convenience vs security/paranoia.
  7. irishbogman

    irishbogman Newbie

    Mine came with JB 4.1 installed, playing around trying to get the play store free credit, upgraded to 4.1.1
    Did a factory reset, its still at 4.1.1
    In my opinion a factory reset does not restore it to when it first came out of the box, am I right?
  8. wibbly

    wibbly Member

    There's a security setting to encrypt all the user data. If you trust that, maybe encrypt all you data and THEN do a factory reset...
  9. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    A factory reset does not, and never has, modified the operating system on the device. It wipes out all of the user data. That's it.

    If you've upgraded, installed a custom OS, whatever - all of that remains. The only thing that gets deleted on a factory reset is user data.

    I don't think that will help. The encryption option doesn't write anything to blank areas of the partitions, it only encrypts the data that is on them already. So I don't think it will overwrite the data he's looking to have securely erased.

    That would have worked if he had done it BEFORE he did a factory reset, though.
  10. wibbly

    wibbly Member

    Yes, I was suggesting it on the basis that if there WAS some of the data left hanging about after the factory reset, it would at least be encrypted so harder to do anything with, if it could be extracted. As you say, it has to be first...
  11. deslock

    deslock Member
    Thread Starter

    I had that encryption enabled as well. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm probably all set.
  12. wibbly

    wibbly Member

    Slightly off topic, but once that's done, is the N7 perceptively slower at doing anything?
  13. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    If you had encryption enabled, you're all set. The data that was wiped would not be useful to anyone who recovered it.
  14. randomhero180

    randomhero180 Newbie

    how do you set encryption to be enabled and do you need it enabled before you start installing anything on your device?
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Member

    Could a card cleaning app along the lines of Forever Gone sufficiently overwrite everything?

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