Cash Converters and CEX sell used phones with previous owners' data on them

Restoring factory settings is not enough

Two of the UK's largest pawnbrokers are selling used phones that still contain sensitive personal information of the previous owners, says a Channel 4 News report.

It was found that phones purchased from Cash Converters and CEX still contained the texts, photos, bank details and website histories of the previous owners, despite promises from the outlets that the owners' personal information would be "wiped".

However, it was found that both companies only used standard "restore factory setting" wiping techniques, meaning the data was still stored in the gadgets' memories - meaning freely available software from the internet could be used to extract it.

The "restore factory settings" button can be used by any phone owner to make the data invisible when the phone is turned on by a new owner, but it isn't a proper data wipe, despite what phone sellers can be told.

Technology expert SensePost was shown in the report capturing the personal details from gadgets purchased in Cash Converters and CEX stores.

Cash Converters told Channel 4 News that phones were "wiped" to a "standard level" using a "full factory restore" before phones were sold. CEX said it was "currently rolling out a new procedure" that "improves on the current erasing technique used in the second hand phone market".

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told Channel 4 News he was now "contacting CEX and Cash Converters to demand an explanation of how they go about protecting customers' data".

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitySenseChannel 4

More about Cash ConvertersTechnology

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Antony Savvas

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place