Google Android smartphone owners under the assumption they were able to wipe data from their devices could be leaving information behind, according to researchers from Cambridge University. The researchers took a look at used devices and found files that allowed them to access the previous owner's Gmail accounts and other login/password data.
The devices ran Android 2.3.x Gingerbread all the way to 4.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, with the UK devices including smartphones from Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola, Google, and HTC.
"We were able to retrieve the Google master cookie from the great majority of phones, which means that we could have logged on to the previous owner's Gmail account," according to the researchers. "The reasons for failure are complex; new phones are generally better than old ones, and Google's own brand phones are better than the OEM offerings."
Any time a user upgrades to a new smartphone, a factory reset is recommended - but that apparently is no longer good enough.