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Survey: UK's ICO Finds 11 pct of Used Hard Drives Contain Personal Information

     
4:43 pm on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Survey: UK's ICO Finds 11 pct of Used Hard Drives Contain Personal Information [bbc.co.uk]
One-in-10 second-hand hard drives still contain the original user's personal information, suggests an investigation by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

It purchased devices from auction sites such as eBay and computer fairs.

Of the 200 hard disks collected, 11% contained personal information.

At least two of the drives had enough information to enable someone to steal the former owners' identities, the watchdog said.



I'm surprised it wasn't more than 11%
3:19 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Given the unexpected benefit, should we expect a price increase on 2nd hand hdds?
10:25 pm on Apr 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Memo to self: When recycling used computer,* detour via "Recycle Your Old Magnets Here" section.

I'm surprised it wasn't more than 11%

Yes, I wonder if they meant "personal information instantly accessible to any old idiot without having to do even the most rudimentary data recovery".


* State law. Anything containing a circuit board must be recycled. Hence the improbably large number of TVs, microwaves and so on filling any unlocked dumpster. Last time I moved, I saved myself $22 by giving away two old pre-digital not-even-slightly-flatscreen TVs.
9:47 am on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Rule of thumb:
Always rem HDD, crack it open, drill through, finish with heavy hammering.

Degaussing calls for heavy duty equipment and is not a true good panacea.

A good alternative is to immerse it in acid for a couple of days.

Plus keep in mind that way above what we can do in data recovery, the gov and real bad guys have the capability to grab data even from the most damaged HDD.
3:32 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Magnets don't destroy all data on hard drives. You need to physically drill multiple holes through the disk area in order to destroy the drive and even then, acid as suggested above isn't unreasonable if you had personal info on the drive. Some potentially revealing information is stored in the registry too.

Re-usable parts include case, video card, memory, power supply, keyboard etc. Sell them if you need an upgrade but you won't often need an upgrade anymore because processing and graphics are as advanced as bandwidth will allow. The bottleneck is no longer your computers technology, it's the connectivity.

Destroy the parts with memory, when out of your hands you have no idea who will try to get your data but I guarantee you that people who want it know where to find discarded drives.

edit: also, deleting and/or formatting a drive does not destroy the data, it just relocates it. Your smartphone is even worse for retaining data/pictures since a copy of everything you do is recorded both by the isp and by the carrier which aren't always the same company.
 

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