Motorola Mobility came forward with a press statement to admit that they may have exposed some of their customers to potentially malicious operations after mistakenly re-selling 100 Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi tablets that still contained the data left on them by previous owners.
In a mistake they call a “refurbishment process error,” the company failed to completely erase the data prior to being sold on Woot.com in the period between October and December 2011.
Out of a batch of 6,200 units, on approximately 100 of them there may have still been files and credentials stored by the previous owners. This includes potentially private documents and the usernames and passwords stored in web browsers and applications.
The affected customers are among individuals who purchased and then resold Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi tablets to retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Office Max, BJ’s Wholesale, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club and Staples between March and October 2011.
Besides being offered a complementary two-year membership of Experian’s ProtectMyID™ Alert by Motorola, customers who are in this situation are also advised to be on the lookout for any suspicious activities that may affect their accounts, especially if they stored sensitive information on the returned tablets.
This is also a good lesson for those who want to return products. While companies try to do a decent job in erasing hard drives and other storage units, slip-ups are bound to exist and that’s why it’s recommended that you erase most of the sensitive data and passwords yourself before turning in the device.
This is not the first time we hear of such incidents in the past period. Not long ago we’ve learned of an Australian retailer that sold a film maker a hard drive filled with malware
and pirated motion pictures.