eBay Korea Data Erasure Case Study

South Korea is number fourteen in the world in terms of smartphone penetration, and these devices were in the hands of more than half its residents as early as 2012. In 2010, smartphones in Korea went SIM-free. This resulted in a surge in growth of the second-hand mobile device market, which is now said to be worth ¥100 billion. However, because buyers have become cautious of purchasing second-hand devices from strangers, they are increasingly turning to more reputable ecommerce sites to buy their used phones.

eBay Korea is a subsidiary of eBay Inc, an American multinational corporation and e-commerce company, providing consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales services. eBay Korea buys second-hand smart devices from Gmarket, South Korea’s largest online retail site, with the support of second-hand IT device dealer Kumkang Systems.


  • In 2017, there were approximately 36,262,000 smartphone users in South Korea, with penetration at 71.5% of the market.*
  • ¥100 billion value of second-hand smart device market in Korea**

* https://newzoo.com/insights/rankings/top-50-countries-by-smartphone-penetration-and-users/
** eBay Korea Research


When buying second-hand mobile devices, eBay Korea discovered that, in many cases, users had simply performed a factory reset prior to reselling them. This points to a larger misconception that exists in the marketplace. Users often mistakenly believe a factory reset wipes data and prevents it from ever being accessed or susceptible to cyber criminals.

However, the proper erasure method on iOS devices is not the same as it is for Android devices. Apple devices use encrypted storage so deletion of the encryption key makes it impossible to recover data. But Android devices, on the other hand, do not use this method and require overwriting to erase data completely, thereby rendering it unrecoverable.

As a result, large amounts of residual data, including emails, text messages, photos, videos and even passwords, were remaining. In order to prevent reselling devices with residual data still on them, eBay Korea knew it needed a solution that would properly and completely erase all data from the used mobile devices, thus eliminating any chances of leaking customer data and the impending fallout of such occurrences.


Using Blancco Mobile Device Eraser, the company was able to quickly and effectively perform multiple erasures, wiping 50 devices simultaneously, without disturbing or damaging the operating system. With Blancco Management Console, eBay Korea can get a centralized point of view of all data erasure licenses, create and modify users, monitor activities and collect 100% certified, tamper-proof audit reports. The ability to produce these reports gives customers peace of mind that devices are fit for the second-hand market, ultimately boosting eBay Korea’s reputation and profitability.


50 devices erased simultaneously. Increased trust among citizens. Mitigated risk of high-value data leaks.

“It is extremely dangerous to put devices on the second-market after just initializing them or restoring their factory settings. Second-hand devices contain a lot of personal information on them about their previous owners, which can be easily restored. So, before distributing them to the second-hand market, we need to ensure that the data of the previous users cannot be restored.”

Kim Suk Hun, Head of Digital and Electronics Division, eBay Korea

About Blancco

As the de facto standard in data erasure, Blancco provides thousands of organizations with an absolute line of defense against costly security breaches, as well as verification of regulatory compliance through a 100% tamper-proof audit trail. Our data erasure solutions have been tested, certified, approved and recommended by 18 governing bodies around the world. No other security firm can boast this level of compliance with the most rigorous requirements set by government agencies, legal authorities and independent testing laboratories.