Beware the data risks when selling your old laptop on eBay

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A security firm has undertaken a study to find out just what personally identifiable info could be acquired by fraudsters when you sell your old laptop or computer on eBay. And the results are quite startling. Even if you’ve tried yourself, or hired a professional, to erase all your information only 10% of hard drives they bought were entirely clean.

Blancco Technology Group (BTG) purchased 200 second-hand hard disk drives and solid state drives on eBay and Craigslist earlier in the year. And then they set about analysing them to see what they could find.

Paul Henry of BTG say: “Users should not blindly trust that simply ‘deleting’ data will truly get rid of all of it for good. Remaining data can still be accessed and recovered unless the data is securely and permanently erased.”

As they note:

“- 67 percent of the used hard disk drives and solid state drives hold personally identifiable information and 11 percent contain sensitive corporate data.
– Upon analyzing the 200 used drives, company emails were recovered on 9 percent of the drives, followed by spreadsheets containing sales projections and product inventories (5 percent) and CRM records (1 percent).
– 36 percent of the used HDDs/SSDs containing residual data had data improperly deleted from them by simply dragging files to the ‘Recycle Bin’ or using the basic delete button.”

You can download the full and free report here. But the message is clear: beware of the risks.

2 Responses

  1. i always remove the hard drive from any PC’s ive owned, and PHYSICALLY destroy.

    if i sell on the PC, the price i lose for not having a totally usable out-of-the-box system for the new owner is fine by me.

    hammer, drills, anything heavy duty sees the end of the hard drive, just be careful to wear eye protection as the spinning hard disk type splinter into glass sharp particles!

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