by Al Sacco

What You Can Learn from Motorola’s Recent Refurbed Tablet Security Scare

Feb 06, 20122 mins
Mobile SecuritySecuritySmartphones

Motorola recently shipped about 100 refurbished XOOM Wi-Fi-only tablets that is says may contain sensitive information belonging to the original tablet owners. But the news would be a non-issue if those owners had simply performed a good ol' security wipe on their gadgets.

Last week, I got an e-mail message from Motorola’s media team notifying me that it had recently shipped 100 or so refurbished XOOM Wi-Fi-only tablets that may have contained sensitive information, ranging from photos and documents to online user names and passwords, belonging to the gadgets’ previous owners.


Motorola claims that a “refurbishment process error,” was the cause of the incident, and that the 100 tablets were resold online via between October and December 2011. Motorola is trying to make up for the mishap by offering anyone who purchased a XOOM and returned it to, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale, eBay, Office Max, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, or Staples, along with a few other independent retailers between March and October 2011, sing up for a complimentary two-year membership of Experian’s ProtectMyID Alert to help ensure that information they may not have cleared from those tablets isn’t misused. (You can contact Experian at 1-866-926-9803 to sign up for the credit monitoring service.)

That’s a nice gesture from Motorola, and one that former XOOM owners and other Motorola customers should certainly appreciate. But honestly, it’s not Motorola’s job to make sure that all of its customers are smart enough to clear their devices before returning or discarding them. The onus of protecting sensitive personal information stored on electronic devices is on gadget users themselves.

Unfortunately, many modern smartphone, tablet and/or computer users have no idea how to clear or perform a “security wipe” on the gadgets they use every day.

The lesson here: Take a minute to determine how to security wipe your device. It’s usually a very simple process and it could save you immeasurable grief in the future.

And if you’re a BlackBerry or Android user, I can even save you a Google search. Check out my recent posts on how to securely wipe your Android device and your BlackBerry. You can find advice on how to wipe your laptop or PC here.

Whenever you get a new device and get rid of an old one, it’s always a great idea to wipe it clean once or even twice for good measure.

And if you think you might be affected by the Motorola news, you can log a XOOM Wi-Fi return submission on the company’s website.


Shout out to @SilverstoneA for the story idea