Thinking about selling your Echo Dot—or any IoT device? Read this first #IoT #InternetOfThings #Security
ArsTechnica dives deep into the thorny issue facing many internet of things (IoT) devices: deleting data from Echo Dots—and other IoT devices from Amazon and elsewhere—is hard.
Like most Internet-of-things (IoT) devices these days, Amazon’s Echo Dot gives users a way to perform a factory reset so, as the corporate behemoth says, users can “remove any… personal content from the applicable device(s)” before selling or discarding them. But researchers have recently found that the digital bits that remain on these reset devices can be reassembled to retrieve a wealth of sensitive data, including passwords, locations, authentication tokens, and other sensitive data.
Researchers from Northeastern University bought 86 used devices on eBay and at flea markets over a span of 16 months. They first examined the purchased devices to see which ones had been factory reset and which hadn’t. Their first surprise: 61 percent of them had not been reset. Without a reset, recovering the previous owners’ Wi-Fi passwords, router MAC addresses, Amazon account credentials, and information about connected devices was a relatively easy process.
“An adversary with physical access to such devices (e.g., purchasing a used one) can retrieve sensitive information such as Wi-Fi credentials, the physical location of (previous) owners, and cyber-physical devices (e.g., cameras, door locks),” the researchers wrote in a research paper. “We show that such information, including all previous passwords and tokens, remains on the flash memory, even after a factory reset.”
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