To demonstrate just how easy, common and dangerous it is when data is improperly removed before used electronics are resold, we purchased a total of 200 used hard disk drives and solid state drives from eBay and Craigslist in the first quarter of 2016.

Here are the top findings from our study:

  • 67 percent of the used hard disk drives and solid state drives hold personally identifiable information and 11 percent contain sensitive corporate data.
  • Upon analyzing the 200 used drives, company emails were recovered on 9 percent of the drives, followed by spreadsheets containing sales projections and product inventories (5 percent) and CRM records (1 percent).
  • 36 percent of the used HDDs/SSDs containing residual data had data improperly deleted from them by simply dragging files to the ‘Recycle Bin’ or using the basic delete button.


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