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Discarded Hard Drives Full of Private Data

Think twice, and then a third time, before you trash your old PC hard drive. This MIT press release describes a recently released study conducted by two of the university’s grad students about their purchase of 158 used drives from which they successfully salvaged a treasure trove of personal credit card information, banking transaction data, medical documents and other data collected by former PC owners.

  • The full-text of their 27 page study, Remembrance of Data Passed: A Study of Disk Sanitation, is now available, in PDF, here.
  • In all to many instances, PC owners simply do not purge their hard drives before swapping them out for new ones, or they use utilities that do an inadequate job at wiping the drives clean of recoverable data.

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