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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading an interesting article on News.com and thought I'd post it here. The article describes how two MIT students purchased 158 hard drives online and in swap meets and how much info they found on the drives.<br><br><br><br>
"On those drives, they found more than 5,000 credit card numbers, medical reports, detailed personal and corporate financial information, and several gigabytes worth of personal e-mail and pornography."<br><br><br><br>
"The students found that 129 of the 158 drives they acquired were still functional. Of these, they found 28 drives in which little or no attempt was made to erase the information. <b>On one drive, the pair found a years worth of financial transactions. The drive apparently came from an ATM in Illinois.</b>"<br><br><br><br>
I thought that was pretty amazing. I just assumed people would format their hard drives, at a minimum, before selling their system.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, full article can be seen here if anyone's interested:<br><br><a href="http://news.com.com/2100-1083-981076.html?tag=fd_lede2_hed" target="_blank">http://news.com.com/2100-1083-981076...g=fd_lede2_hed</a>
 

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Robert,<br><br>
I read that, too, in my local newspaper today! Its nuts.
 

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But even if you delete you hard drive, the information isn't really deleted. Everything you every upload/down load to and from your hard drive stays there. When you 'delete' it, the file is simply renamed. So, 'deleted' info can always be retrieved. You just have to scrape the hard drive. I currently have 2 hard drives installed. It makes backups easier. And if I ever don't have the need for either an pull it out it'll be detroy instead of sold.<br><br><br><br>
But it still bothers me that others that have my info don't take the same precautions.
 

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Burn, hard drive, burn... I try not to give out my info if I can help it, but I have to wonder who all sees the checks I write. I don't have any credit cards, so nobody can dig up info on that since it doesn't exist.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Robert</i><br><br><b>I thought that was pretty amazing. I just assumed people would format their hard drives, at a minimum, before selling their system.</b></div>
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technically, you need to reformat your computer about nine times for the information to actually not be retrievable, i believe. i'm pretty sure i read that people like the FBI are still able to retrieve info even after reformatted a few times. technology is crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, Norton has a utility to wipe a disk clean as well, appropriately named WipeDisk (at least they used to in Norton Utilities). This is the kind of thing you'd think Microsoft would include ina basic installation of Windows... even including something like a built in zip file utility that can read MAC .sit files, .tar, zip, .arc, .ace and other common compressed file formats.
 

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If its encoded, does that mean it can be decoded?
 

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Is that WipeDisk any good? I see a lot of ads for programs that are supposed to do that, but I don't want to pay money for something that won't work worth a ****.
 

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I don't believe so. I use BCWipe, which writes over deleted file space repeatedly with a random sequence. This essentially shreds the deleted files and keeps them from being retrieved.<br><br><br><br>
My understanding is that when computer memories were much smaller, this wasn't an issue, as deleted file space overwritten more frequently by new data.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
BWJ, I have no idea. I just remember seeing an option for it when I bought Norton Utilities a few years ago. I'm not even sure if they make it any longer.<br><br><br><br>
I just buy a small replacement drive anytime I sell a PC.<br><br><br><br>
Tame, what's the cost of BCWipe?
 

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I open up the cases of the old drives that I discard, pull out the platters, and go over them with a bulk demagnetizer ($12 from radio shock).<br><br><br><br>
I've friend of mine got a used hard drive from a law office -- with word processing files containing details about the cases they were working on, clients names and addresses.
 

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BCWipe - <a href="http://www.jetico.com/" target="_blank">http://www.jetico.com/</a><br><br><br><br>
$40 for 1 license.<br><br><br><br>
I got it as freeware a year or two ago when it was first released.
 
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