What You Can Learn from Motorola’s Recent Refurbed Tablet Security Scare
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.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
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 Woot.com 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 Amazon.com, 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.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.