Sponsor Robert Siciliano as he runs the Boston Marathon for Miles for Miracles, Children's Hospital Boston
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of www.IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.

FREE EBOOK

Check here if you're human

Sponsors

Advisory Boards

I Found Your Data on That Used Device You Sold

0
Pin It

Over the past 15 years, the increasingly rapid evolution of technology has resulted in new computers or mobile phones becoming outdated in a matter of one or two years. Chances are, you’ve gone through no less than ten digital devices in the past decade, if not more. It has become standard practice to upgrade to a newer device and often sell, donate, or discard the old one. Or you’ve received a new computer or mobile phone for a holiday gift and need to get rid of the old one.

What did you do with all of your old devices? Some may be in your basement, others were given away, and you might have hocked a few on eBay or Craigslist. Did you know it is very likely that you inadvertently put all of your digital data in someone else’s hands if you no longer have the device?

I recently bought 20 laptops, desktops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets, Macs, and mobiles through Craigslist, all from sellers located within 90 minutes of my home. Of the 20, three of them had never been wiped, meaning that I bought the devices exactly as they once sat on someone’s desk. The original owners had made no effort to clean out the data, which meant that I was able to access the records of their entire digital lives. 17 of the devices had been wiped, meaning that the seller took the time to reformat or reinstall the operating system. Of the 17 wiped drives, seven contained remnants of the previous users’ digital lives. Despite the effort made to reformat or reinstall the operating systems, there were partitions and leftover data on the drives.

After having spent the past few months working with a forensics expert, I’ve come to the conclusion that even if you wipe and reformat a hard drive, you may still miss something. IT professionals tasked with data destruction use “wiping” software, and you can too. But after what I’ve seen, more needs to be done. This means external and internal drives, thumb drives, SD cards, and anything else that stores data really should be destroyed.

So whether you destroy an unwanted drive with a sledgehammer, or use a drill press to turn it into swiss cheese, or use a hack saw to chop it into pieces, and then drop those pieces into a bucket of salt water for, oh, say a year, just to be safe, for your own good, don’t sell it on eBay or Craigslist.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. See him discussing identity theft on YouTube.(Disclosures)

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

Similar Posts

  • Selling Your Old Smartphone? Not Smart
    It has become standard practice to upgrade to a newer device, and people often sell, donate, or discard the old one. Or maybe you’ve received a new computer or mobile phone as a holiday gift and need to get rid of the old one. You consider selling them so you can get some money back—maybe
  • Preparing a Mobile or PC for Resale or Donation
    You may have read my last post where I talked about “Clean the Clutter” out of your life and sell all the stuff you don’t absolutely need. In my Clean the Clutter process I sold 1 Windows XP laptop computer (missing lots of keys), 2 Windows XP desktops and 5 mobile phones all on Craigslist. Prior
  • Cleaning the Clutter Out of Your Life
    While anyone who reads me knows I’m all about personal security and preaching the need for home security systems, I’m also a big advocate for personal balance too. Meaning I come from the old school of motivation, personal responsibility, eating right, exercise, healthy relationships, perspective, spirituality etc. You get the picture. You may know or have
  • How to Prepare a Storage Device for Resale
    If you want to sell a storage device, first back everything up on it with a flash drive, external drive or automated backup service. For Android or iOS, activate the Google Auto Backup service or Apple’s iCloud. Next, wipe the device. No, not with a rag, but wipe out the data, completely. Reformatting the hard drive
  • USB Drives have serious Security Flaws
    That little thing that you stick in your computer to store or transfer data can also mean very bad news. The USB device or “flash drive” can be reconfigured to work like a little thief, for instance, being made to mimic a keyboard and take instructions from the master thief to rip off data or install

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Xtreme School

Featured in

Anderson Cooper John Stossel Robert Siciliano Featured in
Browse by Month

Browse by Category