66% of used hard drives still hold sensitive data

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Security researchers have found in tests that if you buy a second-hand hard drive on eBay, you will probably end up getting a lot more than just the hard drive.

In their tests, the researchers found that 66% of the second hand hard drives still contained sensitive data which had not been deleted properly.  The previous owners of the computers had just deleted the files with the standard Windows delete function, which of course is easily reversible given the right software.   This then opens the door to identity theft and a whole host of other scenarios, especially if the documents relate to things such as corporate secrets or sexual preferences… you get the idea.

All people need to do is install a secure deletion program such as Eraser or Ultrashredder.   Then they won’t have to worry about this!

Can you recommend a secure deletion program that you like and use?

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4 Responses to 66% of used hard drives still hold sensitive data

  1. If the data is sensitive enough, id have have to recommend destroying the drive entirely. You cant recover data that doesnt exist anymore.

  2. Eraser works splendidly. If it your major boot drive, download DBAN (you can find download links on google, but after installing Eraser, you can create a DBAN cd from the menu options).

    By the way, run the DOD wipe, not the single pass wipes.

  3. I use TuneUp Utilities.

    It gives easy, non geek access to a lot of customization stuff and has tools for secure deletion and neat stuff like registry cleanup and whatnot. Nice overall package for those that don't want to hunt for every switch and reference.

  4. Disk Utility in OS X with the 32x overwrite option does an adequate job but it does take a while to complete.

    When I worked on a DoD classified project we took the platters out of the drive and ground them down to small metal filings. Now THAT was a secure erase.