Discarded Hard Drives Reveal Secrets

from the easy-way-to-spy dept

Simson Garfinkel is always doing his best to point out to people how little privacy they really have. His latest move was to buy up a bunch of hard drives on eBay and then take a look to see what sort of information he could recover. Many of the hard drives he bought weren’t “sanitized” at all. They just left all the old information right where it had been before, including plenty of personal information including “medical correspondence, love letters, pornography and 5,000 credit card numbers”. Even ones where the previous owners had tried to clean up, it was often possible to get information. When people just tried to delete stuff, it was easy, but even on formatted drives, Garfinkel was often able to recover information. He points out that if he were a spy, he would just spend a ton of money on eBay buying old hard drives to see what he could come up with.

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Comments on “Discarded Hard Drives Reveal Secrets”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: Market for disposable hard drives?

Good idea, Dorpus. Then every time someone calls the store and says “I needed to format my hard drive so I pressed the big red button that is labelled ‘don’t press until you’re ready to completely lose everything on this drive’ and now my PC doesn’t work”, we can all get a good laugh at their expense…

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