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Over two years, Simson Garfinkel and Abhi Shelat bought 158 used hard drives at secondhand computer stores and on eBay. Of the 129 drives that functioned, 69 still had recoverable files on them and 49 contained "significant personal information" -- medical correspondence, love letters, pornography and 5,000 credit card numbers. One even had a year's worth of transactions with account numbers from a cash machine in Illinois.
I think very very very few people use tools which removes all information on the hard drive, so even recovery firms wll not be able to get the information (Or they will have a very tuff time).
I wonder how many that even uses the good old "Format C:"
I don't think that people understand how easy it is for people to find what's on a computer. I use Kaaza to download stuff and have found the handy little feature that allows you to look at what downloaded things are on another users computer. (It's nice for when you find someone who has simaler taste in music and you are looking for something new.) I honestly don't think that about half the people's computers I peek at know that someone can look. They would probably blush if they knew. I know I do, sometimes, when I look.
Now, if I were just going to sell my computer to some random person, I would feel pretty safe just running a few low level reformats in a row...
Kinda funny though, when I bought my used laptop, I never even thought of running any kind of data recovery on it to see what was there. hehehe. I'm getting another used computer soon, so maybe I'll take a peek and see what unerase can find.
Not that I'm inclined to commit fraud, but it could be entertaining.
A forensic data recovery specialist would rather run into a disk that has had a sledge taken to it than a disk that has been put through a Degauss box. They might be able to recover something off of the damaged disk. They aren't getting anything off of a disk that has been Degaussed.
Melt scraps with humongous blow torch.
Reform remnants into fishing lures (caring not if it gets snagged on a rock waaaaay out in the middle of the steam I'm fishing and caring even less when I carelessly yank hard and the line breaks).
The guy who took pinking shears to the floppy was an idiot to throw the pieces away all in one place. If he wanted to take shortcuts with disposal, he should have realized anything you can cut with pinking shears you can also mangle with a bic lighter just as easily.