Sanitized Hard Drives Prove Data Trove

    Date16 Jan 2003
    3391
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    So, you think you've cleaned all your personal files from that old computer hard drive you're selling? A pair of MIT graduate students suggest you think again. Over two years, Simson Garfinkel and Abhi Shelat assembled 158 used hard . . . So, you think you've cleaned all your personal files from that old computer hard drive you're selling? A pair of MIT graduate students suggest you think again. Over two years, Simson Garfinkel and Abhi Shelat assembled 158 used hard drives, shelling out $5 to $30 for each at secondhand computer stores and on eBay.

    Of the 129 drives that functioned, 69 still had recoverable files on them and 49 contained "significant personal information" -- medical correspondence, love letters, pornography and 5,000 credit card numbers.

    One even had a year's worth of transactions with account numbers from an ATM in Illinois.

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