Digital India : Can anyone read data from formatted memory card / phone ?

The reason for this post tagging against digital India is because smartphones, memory cards or pen drive usage is very high due to the population and digital exposure. Also, sale and usage of used phones is equally high compare to the new devices. Taking photos/videos is one of the prime use of our mobile phone nowadays and sometimes people do store very much personal photos/clips on their device. Later people delete all these information assuming that no one else can access during resell.

But does that really remove information from the memory card? NO – the way delete or format process works is just clearing mapping of that information. Means marking that space as free so that device software can rewrite the data on that location. So if the location is not reused after format/delete then anyone can easily recover this information.

On the internet, there are many software available which can help any novice person to recover information from the memory card/ hard drive. These generally come at the very much nominal price or some of them are free to use with easy steps. This software looks for the raw data on the card and joins them together like solving some jigsaw puzzle.

Does that mean we should not be storing sensitive information on the memory cards or other storage? Ideally Yes – but if we cannot resist then it’s better to store all such information in the separate memory card attached to the device. During resell we can just sell the device without the memory card or just destroy memory card. As memory cards are not very costly so should not be affecting your device’s reselling value.

Another way is to format your device then store some junk information ensuring all storage is used and format again. Doing this activity 2/3 times will ensure that original set of information is completely overwritten.

In a summary its individual’s responsibility to protect his/her personal data and how far he/she is going with respect to sharing personal information. All the best and happy new year.

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