Motorola Mobility is warning people who bought but then returned Android-based Motorola Xoom tablets between March and October last year that the devices might have been resold by bargain-of-the-day website Woot with the ex-owners' sensitive data still on them.
Motorola said that about 100 out of a batch of 6,200 Xoom tablets that it refurbished "may not have been completely cleared of the original owner's data prior to resale." The tablets were resold by Woot between October and December 2011.
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Data possibly accessible on the uncleaned tablets could include photos and documents, as well as user names and passwords for social media, email and other accounts, Motorola acknowledged.
The company, an early candidate for 2012's biggest security snafus (see 2011's here), issued a statement of apology: "Motorola sincerely regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this situation has caused the affected customers. Motorola is committed to rigorous data protection practices in order to protect its customers, and will continue to take the necessary steps to achieve this objective. "
Motorola is now offering customers who purchased and then returned a Xoom Wi-Fi tablet to Amazon.com, Best Buy, BJ's Wholesale, eBay, Office Max, Radio Shack, Sam's Club or Staples and a few other independent retailers between March and October a free two-year membership to Experian's ProtectMyID Alert service to mitigate risks (Original owners should call 1-866-926-9803 to sign up for the credit monitoring service). Motorola also advises that these former owners take precautions such as changing passwords on their various online accounts.
Those original owners who performed a factory data reset prior to returning their Xoom are not impacted.
Motorola and Woot are also trying to track down the refurbished units in question so that the memories can be cleared. Customers who purchased a refurbished Xoom Wi-Fi tablet from Woot.com between October and December 2011 are encouraged to visit motorola.com/xoomreturn or call Motorola Mobility customer support at 1-800-734-5870, and select Option 1, in order to determine if their tablet is affected.