A security vulnerability was revealed recently that the Verizon Wireless HTC Droid Incredible had cached and created screenshots of a user’s recently visited website–most likely for use in the Bookmarks widget of HTC Sense–and that there wasn’t an easy way for a user, especially a novice user, to navigate HTC’s smartphone to clear the device of those snapshots. The situation would be sticky as the phone ages and trades hands as users may want to sell their phones if there was no way to clear the screenshots despite being able to clear cache and cookies. However, HTC has explored the problem and promises that a fix is on the way.
The HTC Droid Incredible is unique against other HTC smartphones in that it has built-in memory–8 GB to be exact–and that is where the website screenshots are stored; for other HTC smartphones, screnshots are stored on a memory card and that memory card could be removed and wiped if needed, for instance in the event that a user may need to send in the phone for service or if a user may want to give away or sell a device.
Here’s HTC’s statement on the matter:
HTC has identified the root cause of the DROID Incredible not deleting web page thumbnails after a factory reset, and is creating an update which will eliminate this issue. This will be distributed through a software maintenance release that will be pushed to devices in the near future. Until this time, consumers who wish to manually delete these thumbnails can do so by following these steps:
1) Go to the “Settings” menu
2) Select “SD Card and Phone Storage”
3) Select “Format Phone Storage”
*NOTE* This will delete all files in internal storage, including music and image files. So these files should be backed up before taking these steps.
Other Android devices with HTC Sense, like the DROID Eris, save these thumbnails to the SD card, instead of internal memory, so users can easily keep this information from being shared simply by removing the SD card from their device before trading in the device, sending in for repair, etc.
Since Android allows for over-the-air patches, a fix could likely appear soon as an OTA download.