It is increasingly difficult to control the flow of our data and information in relation to the use of devices and platforms, perhaps more from the presence of virtual assistants at home. Suspicions have been confirmed promptly with cases such as Avast and Amazon, who admitted that kept transcripts and voice recordings indefinitely, and in line with this now an investigation indicates that it is not even enough to reset and that data such as location or WiFi credentials are accessible after factory reset of an Amazon Echo.
Some time ago we compare the conditions in relation to data storage between the different smart speakers and we already saw that the company kept the information for up to 18 months. But the point is that, apparently, there is information that is even kept on the device itself in case the product is factory restored and user changes.
The data remains in the flash memory (although it is not easy to access)
It is a investigation of engineers from Northeastern University, who after 16 months applying reverse engineering a Second hand Amazon Echo speakers show that there are gaps at the level of protection of private data. As specified, a user with sufficient knowledge can access data such as WiFi credentials, the location of the previous owners and their security devices (What surveillance cameras O smart locks).
Beyond that information that we mentioned, kept in the cloud, what they have detected is that said data is kept on the device itself, in flash memory. Something that happens even after a factory reset, which is attributed to the algorithms used in that memory and the lack of encryption.
As they detail, what they also saw in the 86 products they investigated (obtained on eBay and unspecified markets) is that more than half the products had not even been reset by the former owners, which according to the researchers may be due to the fact that, beyond the possible lack of knowledge of the users, the restoration process “can be confusing” (and if this is your case, In Basics you can consult a step-by-step guide to make it easier for you). Regarding refurbished products (refurbished), purchased from Amazon itself, did not find a trace of data, so they do not know if they were previously used and consider that in these cases there may also have been a change of motherboard.
Of course, as we say, the data recovery process it is not simple and requires quite advanced knowledge. As detailed, you have to desolder the flash memory chip from the board and use another device to extract the data, so it is somewhat complex, although in the end it only takes 20 or 30 minutes (in expert hands).
In Engadget we have contacted Amazon in relation to this information, so as soon as we have the response from the company we will add it to this article. Especially with regard to the specification of “apply a factory reset to erase any type of personal data from the device”, expressed verbatim on one of your help pages related to recycling your Amazon Echos.
The issue of the information of its users has already splashed with previous controversies to this company, though it is not the only one. Four months ago Vodafone Spain received a fine from the AEPD of 8.1 million euros for bypassing data protection and not stopping commercial actions when asked, after having previously seen it with Caixabank Y with BBVA. Not even [Apple (con lo que presume) se salva del todo](https://www.xataka.com/privacidad/apple-falacia-privacidad-how-protegerla-excusa-perfecta-para-winar-mero-your-productos-servicios y Facebook is still in the crosshairs of the European Commission.
Source: Xataka by feeds.weblogssl.com.
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