The All Points Blog

21 July 2014

When It Comes to Hard Drives, Delete Means It Can Be Retrieved

Have you ever donated an old computer, sold it on eBay, or left it at the curb to get picked up with the trash? Maybe you even deleted everything on the hard drive. With a little expertise, those deleted files can be retrieved. “When retiring a hard drive, physical destruction makes information inaccessible” said Simson L. Garfinkel, author of Database Nation and researcher Harvard University Department of Computer Science.

A study by Garfinkel found that many hard drives that are wiped and then resold still contain very confidential material that can cause significant financial and reputational hard. The study found that hard drives purchased on eBay routinely contain sensitive and confidential data. Garfinkel purchased an old ATM machine that had belonged to a Chicago bank from eBay. The hard drive contained 827 unique account PIN numbers. He purchased another hard drive on eBay that had previously been owned by a medical center. That drive contained information on 31,000 credit card numbers.

“You name it, we found it,” Garfinkel said. Next, Garfinkel contacted 20 businesses to ask them why he was able to retrieve their confidential data. The feedback he received demonstrated that the biggest problem was that they had trusted others to properly dispose of the hard drives.

A second problem was that the employees were not properly trained in data destruction techniques.

This study along with real life stories we read about in the daily news, is why it is so important to ensure that your hard drives are being properly destroyed. Consider hard drives in computers and in printers and scanners or MRI machines as well.

All Points Mobile Shredding offers on-site hard drive destruction. This service is NAID AAA Certified and the only real way to guarantee the data contained on your hard drives won’t get into the wrong hands. Because the consequences can be devastating.