Does Your Used Hard Drive Still Have Data On It?

29 Jan ’05

Brad Feld has a post about what a friend found on used hard drives – stories like this surface regularly, but each one is still very disturbing.  Money quote:

Not surprisingly, he found a huge amount of data, including confidential information such as medical records, HR correspondence, and financial data.  For example, Drive #134 was from an ATM in a Chicago bank.  It contained one year’s worth of transactions, including over 3,000 card numbers.  In this case, the bank had apparently hired a contractor to upgrade the ATM machines – the contractor hired a sub-contractor.  The bank and contractor assumed the disks would be properly sanitized, but there were no procedures specified in the contract.  As a result, the drives weren’t sanitized correctly and the data was still on them for Simson to play around with.


Simson logically ponders this issue, especially in our current Patriot Act governed world.  For less than $1,000 and working part time, he was able to collect thousands of credit cards, detailed financial records on hundreds of people, and confidential corporate files.  He concludes by asking – “who else is doing this?”

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