Used Devices Contain Vital Information

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 10:03 AM gHale

Selling a used electronic device can end up coming back and biting the seller as 40 percent of hard drives, mobile phones and tablets resold contain personally identifiable information (PII), new research shows.

As it turns out, the recovery process used to locate the data on more than 250 devices for this study conducted by CPR Tools for the National Association for Information Destruction was not sophisticated nor was forensic training required. All methods leveraged downloadable shareware.

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PII recovered included credit card information, contact information, usernames and passwords, company and personal data, tax details, and more.

While mobile phones had less recoverable PII at 13 percent, tablets had the highest amount at 50 percent. PII was also on 44 percent of hard drives. Overall, 40 percent of the devices yielded PII. The study included devices previously deployed in commercial and personal environments.

The current state of electronic storage has made it possible for nearly every adult to carry a form of data storage device. “As data storage is included in nearly every aspect of technology today, so is the likelihood of unauthorized or unintended access to that data. Auction, resell, and recycling sites have created a convenient revenue stream in used devices; however, the real value is in the data that the public unintentionally leaves behind,” said John Benkert, chief executive at CPR Tools.

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