Old hardware can be a hotbed of unsecured data. Before you let yours go, are you sure that you permanently deleted those files?

Investigators at Abertay University purchased 100 second-hand and reportedly ‘empty’ USB devices from internet auction sites, before putting them under scrutiny. All were advertised as empty, and all were noted as second-hand or refurbished. The problem is, when they arrived, many simply hadn’t been properly cleaned, meaning their historic data was still accessible, if not actually visible.

Often, it looks like data has been wiped from hardware, at least to the naked eye, but if you know what you are looking for, these files can be recoverable by those with less scrupulous intentions. Of the 100 devices that Abertay purchased, their researchers found more than 75,000 ‘deleted’ files, including files labelled ‘passwords’ and files like bank accounts and statements too. Only 32 USB sticks had been properly wiped, 26 revealed partial files and 42 revealed full files.

If you are planning to get rid of any hardware, it is sensible to ensure that it is either professionally wiped, or securely destroyed. Look for a reputable company to do this, or take advantage of our free recycling and secure destruction service on 01453 700 800.