New research conducted by the University of Hertfordshire revealed that two-thirds of second-hand Memory card’s still contains the personal data from previous owners

Based on the research, people aren’t sufficiently erasing data from their personal data before selling their old memory cards which are used from mobile phones and tablets.

This In-depth research conducted by the University of Hertfordshire which is commissioned by, security and privacy reviews website on sold and used memory cards.

Research uncovered that sold memory card into secondhand contains personal information and sensitive materials, including passport copies, contact lists and identification numbers being passed from one person to the next.


A team of researchers purchased around 100 used SD and micro SD memory cards from eBay, secondhand shops and other external sources for the previous 4 months.

All the gathered memory cards ware analyzed using freely available software to recover data and also created a forensic image of each memory card copy.

65% Memory card’s Data Recovered

After the complete analysis researchers were able to recover 65 % memory cards data that contains selfies, contact lists, navigation files, pornography, resumes, browsing history and other more confidential data.

Memory card's
University of Hertfordshir, Cyber Security Professor Andrew Jones,said” This research uncovers the prevalence of second-hand memory cards providing a rich source of sensitive data, that could easily be misused if a buyer so wished. Despite the ongoing media focus on cybercrime and the security of personal data, it is clear from our research that the majority are still not taking adequate steps to remove all data from  before sales.”

Researchers purchased a different type of storage capacity memory cards and complete analyzed it using various ways using publicly available forensic tools.

Memory card's

According to comparitech memory cards were analyzed and given the following result.

  • 36 were not wiped at all—neither the original owner nor the seller took any steps to remove the data.
  • 29 appeared to have been formatted, but data could still be recovered “with minimal effort.”
  • 25 appeared to have been properly wiped using a data erasing tool that overwrites the storage area, so nothing could be recovered.
  • 4 could not be accessed (read: were broken).
  • 4 had no data present, but the reason could not be determined.
  • 2 cards had their data deleted, but it was easily recoverable.

These all are the sensitive data eventually used by cyber criminals for various malicious purposes so users avoid selling their used memory cards else make sure the memory card has been completely wiped.

BALAJI is a Former Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.


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