Blancco reveals 42% of used drives sold on eBay are holding sensitive data

AUSTIN and LONDON — April 25, 2019Blancco Technology Group (LON: BLTG), the industry standard in data erasure and mobile device diagnostics, today announced the findings of a new report, which looks at residual data on used storage drives purchased on eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace. Conducted in conjunction with partner, Ontrack, the study analysed 159 drives purchased in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Finland. Sensitive data was discovered to be present on 42% of devices, with 15% containing personally identifiable information (PII). This included:

  • A drive from a software developer with a high level of government security clearance, with scanned images of family passports and birth certificates, CVs and financial records
  • University student papers and associated email addresses
  • 5GB of archived internal office email from a major travel company
  • 3GB of data from a cargo/freight company, along with documents detailing shipping details, schedules and truck registrations
  • University student papers and associated email addresses
  • Company information from a music store, including 32,000 photos
  • School data, including photos and documents with pupils’ names and grades

For every 20 drives, at least three had PII. Furthermore, each seller Blancco interacted with as part of the process stated that the proper data sanitisation methods had been performed so that no data was left behind. This highlights a major concern that while sellers clearly recognise the importance of removing data, they are in fact, using methods which are inadequate.

“Selling old hardware via an online marketplace might feel like a good option, but in reality, it creates a serious risk of exposing dangerous levels of personal data,” said Fredrik Forslund, VP, cloud and data erasure, Blancco. “By putting this equipment into the wrong hands, irreversible damage will be caused – not just to the seller, but their employer, friends and family members. It is also clear that there is confusion around the right methods of data erasure, as each seller was under the impression that data had been permanently removed. It’s critical to securely erase any data on drives before passing them onto another party, using the appropriate methods to confirm that it’s well and truly gone. Education on best ways to permanently remove data from devices is a vital investment to negate the very real risk of falling victim to identity theft, or other methods of cybercrime.”

As part of the research, a range of used hard drives from leading brands, including Samsung, Dell, Seagate, HP, Hitachi were purchased at random. The only requirement was that the drives had not been wiped using Blancco products. They were analysed in early 2019 by partner Ontrack, using proprietary data recovery tools. Once the recovery exercises were complete, the drives were then sanitised by Blancco to ensure permanent removal of the data.

To learn more about preparing old hard drives for sale and more, download the full report, Privacy for Sale: Data Security Risks in the Second-Hand IT Asset Marketplace.

 

About Blancco Technology Group

Blancco is the industry standard in data erasure and mobile device diagnostics. Blancco data erasure solutions provide thousands of organisations with the tools they need to add an additional layer of security to their endpoint security policies through secure erasure of IT assets. All erasures are verified and certified through a tamper-proof audit trail.

Blancco data erasure solutions have been tested, certified, approved and recommended by 18 governing bodies and leading organisations around the world. No other data erasure software can boast this level of compliance with the rigorous requirements set by government agencies, legal authorities and independent testing laboratories.

Blancco Mobile Diagnostics solutions enable mobile network operators, retailers and call centers to easily, quickly and accurately identify and resolve performance issues on their customers’ mobile devices. As a result, mobile retailers can spend less time dealing with technical issues and, in turn, reduce the quantity of NTF returns, save on operational costs and increase customer satisfaction.

Additionally, Blancco Mobile Diagnostics solutions empower mobile processors, 3PLs, Recyclers and Repair & Refurbishment Operations to easily, quickly and accurately process used mobile devices to identify any issues and determine overall value. By incorporating Blancco Mobile Diagnostics, mobile processors automate processes, deliver intelligent routing based on device attributes and increase overall efficiency, while driving incremental revenue and profitability.

 

Media Contacts

CCgroup for Blancco Technology Group (UK)
Abbie Godward / Josh Cobb
T: +44 (0) 20 3824 9214
E: blancco@ccgrouppr.com

CCgroup for Blancco Technology Group (US)
Lori Scribner
T: +1 619 798 0043
E: blancco@ccgrouppr.com

Blancco Technology Group
Liz Adams, Global Marketing Director
T: +44 (0) 7725 010 412
E: liz.adams@blancco.com

Media Contacts

Corporate Communications

Email: press@blancco.com

Global PR

CC Group
Katie De Cozar, Head of Enterprise Technology

Email: katie.decozar@ccgrouppr.com
Phone: +44 20 3824 9200

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