1. gordonfink's Avatar
    What's the best way to securely wipe data?

    I am assuming factory reset, then cop 32gb worth of meaningless stuff, then factory reset again?

    Is there a way to encrypt files prior to reset, or an app to overwrite all 0's after reset, or do you have to do it the old fashioned way above?

    Also - will the overwrite method securely overwrite all areas, like where contacts and such are stored?

    Thanks much.
    k72 likes this.
    01-17-2015 11:55 AM
  2. dKp1977's Avatar
    A single factory reset will do fine. There's no need for anything beyond that. WP has yet to be jailbroken, which would be mandatory in order to gain full access. Without that there's no way of accessing files or any other information that has ever found its way on your device.
    a5cent, xandros9, aximtreo and 1 others like this.
    01-17-2015 12:39 PM
  3. xandros9's Avatar
    I would not worry about that fancy stuff unless you have government agents or people with exceedingly deep pockets after you.

    but then again you'd have bigger problems.

    us normal people don't have direct access to the storage, so we don't have the tools or expertise to undelete things. A professional data recovery company might do the trick by tearing down the phone and touching the actual memory chips, but as I said above.
    flyingsolid and gordonfink like this.
    01-17-2015 04:40 PM
  4. hprvez's Avatar
    There's no need for "jailbreak" to access, read and write any single information. It has already been done via jtag, not something cheap anyway
    01-18-2015 09:42 AM
  5. dKp1977's Avatar
    There's no need for "jailbreak" to access, read and write any single information. It has already been done via jtag, not something cheap anyway
    I remember that from Windows Phone 7. Is that still possible? Anyways, that's nothing to worry about I'd say.
    01-18-2015 10:22 AM
  6. RumoredNow's Avatar
    If you really want to, you could try the "Shrink Storage" App linked in this wiki: How to free storage memory on Windows Phone - Wiki

    It will fill your internal storage to the brim and trigger the automatic storage cleanup.
    01-18-2015 03:56 PM
  7. dKp1977's Avatar
    If you really want to, you could try the "Shrink Storage" App linked in this wiki: How to free storage memory on Windows Phone - Wiki

    It will fill your internal storage to the brim and trigger the automatic storage cleanup.

    This will only delete cached and temporary files though.
    01-19-2015 04:20 AM
  8. Pete's Avatar
    As there's no method of inspecting the phone's storage on a binary level, there's no need of a data wipe. As dKp said above, you just need to perform a hard reset and allow the next owner of your phone to set it up with their Microsoft Account, your data and content will not be visible to them.
    a5cent likes this.
    01-19-2015 04:26 AM
  9. EndOfRope's Avatar
    Hello,
    it would be also important to delete all data in the cloud. That might be difficult because you dont always know what data is stored there for your account. For exampe, your installed apps, contacts etc.
    To delete data from your phone, you can only be shure with a big hammer
    There are a lot of forensic tools on the maket even for consumers (like elcomsoft) and i dont know what all this tools can do. Well, maybe im paranoid.
    01-19-2015 04:32 AM
  10. dKp1977's Avatar
    Hello,
    it would be also important to delete all data in the cloud. That might be difficult because you dont always know what data is stored there for your account. For exampe, your installed apps, contacts etc.
    To delete data from your phone, you can only be shure with a big hammer
    There are a lot of forensic tools on the maket even for consumers (like elcomsoft) and i dont know what all this tools can do. Well, maybe im paranoid.
    Deleting data in the cloud would only be necessary/recommended, if he's planning to give his account away too. If he's just going to sell his phone and the new owner will create his own account, there's no access to the prior account and its respective data anyways. There's not even the slightest trace of any former account left on the phone. At least none that could easily be accessed by any regular user out there.
    a5cent likes this.
    01-19-2015 05:07 AM
  11. RumoredNow's Avatar
    This will only delete cached and temporary files though.
    Combined with a Factory reset it does what the OP wants. It rewrites all the storage space and erases it again making it more difficult for the NSA to recover the data he had on the phone on a previous write layer when they crack the case and run forensics on his chips.
    01-19-2015 09:52 AM
  12. dKp1977's Avatar
    Combined with a Factory reset it does what the OP wants. It rewrites all the storage space and erases it again making it more difficult for the NSA to recover the data he had on the phone on a previous write layer when they crack the case and run forensics on his chips.

    Ok. I didn't think as far as NSA or any other intelligence agency, lol.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    01-19-2015 11:17 AM
  13. RumoredNow's Avatar
    That is an extreme example. He simply wants to feel secure that his data has been erased, overwritten, erased again and thus difficult for anyone to uncover.

    The best way is rubbing the device all over with a strong magnet > but highly inadvisable as it permanently disables the device as well.
    01-19-2015 11:35 AM
  14. mjperry51's Avatar
    That is an extreme example. He simply wants to feel secure that his data has been erased, overwritten, erased again and thus difficult for anyone to uncover.

    The best way is rubbing the device all over with a strong magnet > but highly inadvisable as it permanently disables the device as well.
    A hammer also works well. . .

    Just sayin'
    01-19-2015 12:37 PM
  15. RumoredNow's Avatar
    A hammer also works well. . .

    Just sayin'
    It's very time consuming to bang on each and every component individually...

    Maybe a nice fire with gasoline accelerant?
    xandros9 and mjperry51 like this.
    01-19-2015 02:16 PM
  16. gordonfink's Avatar
    Thanks much for the info.

    I know Apple encrypts file keys, so files are inaccessible. Android doesn't do anything unless you go to some trouble to do it. I just wasn't sure what WP did.

    I may try the magnet, though. Sounds like an interesting option......

    As far as I know, the NSA isn't after me. So you guys know something I don't?

    Uh oh, time to leave the grid.....

    Thanks again.
    01-19-2015 04:51 PM
  17. xandros9's Avatar
    I doubt a magnet will do the trick.

    a few bullet or drill holes ought to work, but you may want to toss it into the depths of Mt. Doom to be sure.
    RumoredNow, k72, a5cent and 1 others like this.
    01-19-2015 04:59 PM
  18. rhapdog's Avatar
    You may be able to get SpaceX to build you a rocket, and you can launch the phone into space on a trajectory directly toward the Sun. It should burn up and erase all data quite nicely. Might be a bit difficult to resell the phone after that, though, but hey no more NSA worries with that phone, right?
    xandros9, RumoredNow and k72 like this.
    01-19-2015 07:59 PM
  19. Pete's Avatar
    A magnet won't erase solid stagte storage as used in phones. 30 years back, I used to wipe the contents of floppy disks using a honking big electro-magnet.

    All joking aside, a factory reset will wipe the phone and the contents will not be available for the next user. Data forensics can't be done that easily by home users (you'd need expensive specialist equipment and a lot of know-how), and it's an expensive task for law enforcement agencies.

    If there's no cause to suspect you of anything pretty darned serious, there's no point in going through the effort of getting data off your phone.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    01-20-2015 02:28 AM
  20. RumoredNow's Avatar
    But it's more fun imagining the OP running the phone over multiple times with a monster truck in an effort to secure the phone book contents.
    xandros9 likes this.
    01-20-2015 09:50 AM
  21. Chris Smith45's Avatar
    I only signed up to comment on this article.

    You guys should stop giving advice on mobile data security.

    Android and windows phone 7 have very insecure ways of factory resetting and a standard factory reset is not enough if you value what was on the device.

    Please stop putting out such rubbish that a standard factory reset is enough when anyone working in IT security will tell you this is not the case and is very inaccurate information.

    Rant over!
    RumoredNow likes this.
    02-05-2015 06:53 AM
  22. Harrie-S's Avatar
    I only signed up to comment on this article.

    You guys should stop giving advice on mobile data security.

    Android and windows phone 7 have very insecure ways of factory resetting and a standard factory reset is not enough if you value what was on the device.

    Please stop putting out such rubbish that a standard factory reset is enough when anyone working in IT security will tell you this is not the case and is very inaccurate information.

    Rant over!
    Welcome to WC Chris,

    I appreciate that you took the time to register to comment on this post.

    But here we do not talk about android but about windows phones. And also not about windows phone 7 but about windows phone 8(.1).

    So does a factory reset not erase the data of a windows phone 8.

    I bye the way agree that a factory reset for android / windows phone 7 is not secure.
    Last edited by Harrie-S; 02-05-2015 at 07:29 AM.
    xandros9 likes this.
    02-05-2015 07:03 AM
  23. EndOfRope's Avatar
    Hello,
    basically a factory reset will delete all data so an average user will not be able to restore data. But i remeber some years ago there were cases when used hard disks were sold on ebay and criminals were using those to readout things like credit card information.
    On your phone you might have also your credit card number and the buyer could have something bad in mind and tools to read out data from a resetted phone. As long as you are not the guy who has implemented the factory reset in the phone software, how do you know everything is completly erased?
    I have never sold my used phones.
    02-05-2015 07:31 AM
  24. Harrie-S's Avatar
    First of all being carefull is very wise..

    But comparing a hard disk from a few years back with a windows phone 8 now is more then a little bit wrong.

    And if data could be accessed (which is above explained " not " possible) then you need to be way more than an average user.

    Please check some threads where people tried to recover there erased photo's and all failed.

    So if you want to worry than worry about a buyer who pay's with counterfeit money. And not about a buyer who may want your credit card number and thinks it's easier to extract it out of your phone than just hit your on your head an take your wallet and phone.
    Last edited by Harrie-S; 02-05-2015 at 10:42 AM.
    xandros9 likes this.
    02-05-2015 09:02 AM
  25. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Welcome, Chris.

    I only signed up to comment on this article.

    You guys should stop giving advice on mobile data security.

    Android and windows phone 7 have very insecure ways of factory resetting and a standard factory reset is not enough if you value what was on the device.

    Please stop putting out such rubbish that a standard factory reset is enough when anyone working in IT security will tell you this is not the case and is very inaccurate information.

    Rant over!
    I think you address an important point... IT security professionals would have more knowledge and tools available to them for recovering data, definitely.

    It is somewhat hard as to where to draw the line. If you are handing your phone over to your 5 year old niece Sally for an mp3 player and offline box a factory reset is more than adequate. If you are expecting a Government seizure and forensic examination of your device a factory reset is next to useless.

    Considering the OP's concerns and not knowing specifically where next his device is going, many assumed a niece Sally level scenario. And for many that IS sufficient.

    Before the thread devolved into a destroy the phone in a creative manner sort of game, some serious and relevant discussion did take place. If you followed the link I presented in post #6 you would find a tool that fills the internal memory of the device with dummy info and erases it again. Combined with a few resets this would seriously hamper any data retrieval efforts. A serious solution was put forth.

    But again, most don't need such extreme measures. They are simply handing their used device to a friend or family member, or perhaps selling it to another user rather than into the hands of the Russian Mafia.

    I'm the first to advise people that they need AV where applicable, that data can be recovered by technically proficient individuals, etc... We all know here that the dangers are real and the thread was a sincere and realistic discussion until I devolved it with a joke which ran on.

    Perhaps you'd share your recommendation on what should be done by anyone who wants to sell their used Windows Phone on the open market???
    Harrie-S and xandros9 like this.
    02-05-2015 10:47 AM

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