Study Finds Many Discarded Hard Drives Still Contain Confidential Data

Storage & Destruction Business (SDB)
Retrieved 14 May 09
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A recent study, sponsored by BT and Sims Lifecycle Services, finds that more than one third of discarded hard drives still contain confidential data. The study was carried out by forensic computer science labs at Longwood University, located in the United States; the University of Glamorgan, Wales; and Edith Cowan University, Australia.

The study also finds that some of the data uncovered during the research involved national security, including a disk that contained information on missile defense systems, as well as blueprints and personal information on employees; information on network data and security logs from a German Embassy; banking account information, as well as details of a multi-billion dollar currency exchange; and medical information on a number of hospitals

“It is clear from the sensitive information revealed by this study that a wide range of organizations, businesses and individuals all over the world are fundamentally failing in their duty to properly manage sensitive data when their IT equipment passes outside of their control.  IT Directors budget vast amounts of money on data security to protect live data on the equipment they use day-to-day, yet fail to realize that the data has a value which far exceeds the useful life of the equipment,” said Jon Godfrey, Sims Recycling Solutions.

“It is vital to realize that residual data can still be accessed years after the equipment has been discarded and in the wrong hands could have not only financial consequences but potential implications for national security.  It is essential that organizations destroy data via a professional and secure data destruction system or through physical destruction, before passing the equipment for secondary use.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

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