I want to know if a lost smartphone which has been marked in all google related security activities(Erase Data,Lock etc),Can someone still recover something from the phone using hardware dismembering of any kind?

Some phones require correct pattern to startup the Android OS & the bootloader is in locked state so ADB or USB Debugging exploit won't be an issue?

Variety of security apps like Prey etc are present which provide features like SMS alerts on Sim change, Operate phone camera,wipe data etc.Could some hardware removal also disarm such apps?

P.S: Phone/device is also encrypted.

1 Answer 1

  • You haven't mentioned if your device is encrypted ; if it isn't you are in bigger trouble. See this Why encrypt the device?

  • 100% security is a pipe dream. Given enough resources, it may well be possible to use means available in public domain or those available to the letter agencies to get information out of your phone . Point is that you need to address the security threat. If you are an average Joe who doesn't have sensitive information to justify using sophisticated techniques, you are relatively safe

  • Once your device is erased, so will those apps you mentioned be erased , unless they have been made system apps. Logging into a device with PIN lock is theoretically possible by brute force methods, I believe . Locked bootloader and USB debugging disabled make it harder ; but then back to the threat model. Is the information contained important enough to justify that ?

  • As far as hardware methods are concerned some typical ways are covered in one of the answers linked in the first bullet point

I believe that you cannot get a definitive answer but for an average user encryption along with locked bootloader, USB debugging disabled and PIN locked on an erased device shouldn't be a concern - your bases are covered

  • Yes the device was encrypted that means it wont be easy to retrieve data if somebody rips off the memory from my phone and try to access it by assembling it on another phone or device?
    – techie_28
    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:45
  • Would encryption also protect an external SD card?
    – techie_28
    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:54
  • Yes. It won't be easy rather extremely difficult because the encryption key is not available. The encryption key may be linked to the particular device hardware // Encryption would cover external SD if you used adoptable-storage or otherwise encrypted it
    – beeshyams
    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:55
  • Can the RAM be exploited in someway?
    – techie_28
    Feb 22, 2018 at 7:26
  • ok, I wonder how someone can run ADB commands when the device has bootloader locked & USB Debug disabled?Could this be bypassed somehow?
    – techie_28
    Feb 22, 2018 at 7:51

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