34% of resold hard drives contain personal data, study reveals

Graham Cluley

Researchers from BT and the University of Glamorgan are in the news today because they have found a disturbing number of hard drives sold on auction websites and at computer fairs contain sensitive information.

The study, conducted in the UK, United States, Germany, France and Australia, uncovered that 34% of the randomly purchased 300 drives contained personal data, including bank account and medical information that could be exploited for the purposes of identity theft.

In addition, details of test launch procedures for a ground-to-air missile defence system was found on a disk purchased on eBay.

We’ve discussed before the problem of people selling on used hardware like disk drives without properly wiping it. Last August, for instance, we revealed how details of bank customers was…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.