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Beware of repairmen! 50% of repairmen access users’ personal information

Visiting computer and phone repairers is a necessary task that most of us face. Even many expert and professional users sometimes face problems that are beyond their ability and have to take their device to specialized repair centers, which is associated with the risk of access to private information. A new report shows that this happens 50% of the time, and it is even more likely for female customers.

to report Ars Technicaresearchers at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada New research A look at the history of laptops repaired at twelve local, regional and national repair shops in the Greater Ontario area between October and December 2021 came up with some shocking results.

Unfortunately, not only the repairmen of the six regions had access to the personal information of customers; Rather, two of them had copied the customer’s information on their personal device. The published report shows that repairmen are more likely to access the personal information of women’s defective devices, and they focus more on sensitive information, which includes sexual and non-sexual images and documents and financial information of female customers.

The statistics of repairmen's misuse of customers' personal information

The mentioned statistics could have been even worse; Because the researchers visited sixteen shops; But it was not possible to access the history of two laptops and two devices were quickly repaired on the spot and were not left in the shop.

It should be mentioned that in three cases the repairmen had tried to circumvent the customer’s information by erasing the history Windows Quick Access Or Recently Accessed Files Hide windows that show the last visited files of the user. Also, the repairman of one of the unrecorded laptops stated that he installed an antivirus on the device and deleted the extra memory data to eliminate its viruses. Meanwhile, the repairman did not explain the reason for erasing the usage history of the laptop.

The only problem with all the said laptops was that the sound driver was disabled; A simple problem that never requires access to users’ personal data and files. In this study, the researchers pretended that half of the laptops belonged to male customers and half to female customers. Also, they placed information such as sexual and non-sexual documents and files and digital currency wallets along with their specifications and software to record the history of access to different parts of the device on the laptops.

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Another worrying result of the research was going to the repairmen to replace the battery; A simple operation that does not require access to the operating system. When the researchers were reluctant to reveal the device’s password, three repairmen refused to replace the battery, and four of them warned that they could not guarantee it would be done correctly and were not responsible for possible problems. Also, one of the repairmen asked to remove the password and another person said that he will reset the device if needed.

If you ever think of taking your phone or laptop to a repair center, this report is a serious alarm for you: almost all repairmen asked the customer for a password unnecessarily, and half of them stole their information by entering the privacy of users, and some They tried to hide or remove traces of intrusion into the customer’s privacy.

However, the obtained results are not new at all. Last year, Apple had to pay millions of dollars to a woman from the state of Oregon, USA, for publishing her personal pictures and videos on social networks through an iPhone she sent for repair. Such incidents have caused Samsung to block access to sensitive information such as images, contacts, and messages by providing Maintenance Mode for Galaxy devices.


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