Amazon and eBay selling used hard drives with unsuccessful data wipe

Blancco technology Group in association with Kroll Ontrack, Inc made a study in which they discovered that Amazon and eBay were selling used hard drives with residue data on them. This clearly states that all those drives which include used hard disks and solid state drives purchased online have data of the previous owner.

The study was made on 122 pieces of second had equipment which includes mobile phones, HDDs and SSDs. The study revealed that 48% of HDDs and SSDs contained residual data, which includes leftover emails, call logs, texts/sms/IMs, photos and videos were retrieved from 35% of the mobile devices.

The study also revealed that the deletion attempts had been unsuccessful due to common, but unreliable methods used, leaving sensitive information exposed and potentially accessible to cyber criminals.

The survey found out the following-

  • Basic file-deletion commands leave HDD users with a false sense of security. On four of the drives containing residual data, or 11%, only a basic delete was performed, meaning that the user simply deleted the file or sent it to the recycle bin. This left 444,000 files exposed.
  • ‘Quick format’ and reformatting are common, but unreliable, tactics to wipe personal information clean from old HDDs. Our analysis showed that ‘quick format’ had been performed on 61% of the drives with data still present.
  • 48% of the 102 drives purchased still had data intact
  • A deletion attempt was conducted on 75% of those drives that still contained data
  • 25% were re-sold without any type of deletion attempt

When contacted a top executive from Amazon shrugged off the study results by saying that his company was only interested in selling used products delivered/offered by their respective customers. They never peep into those products and guestimate their usage stats, lifetime and other details.

So, companies which are busy in disposing their used storage media should also take the initiative to do the disposing as per industry standards. If they are oblivious on how to proceed, then they can take the help of data wiping and disposing companies like

This company a business unit of Dynamic Network Factory (DNF) does e-waste disposal and recycling as per US Environment Protection Agency standards. For an extra fee, DNF will erase the data from your drives using one of three methods. The first method is writing 0’s and 1’s to the drive which permanently erases traces of any data. The second method is drilling holes in the hard drive platters in such a manner that prevents further access to the platters. The third method involves sanding the platters using an industrial sander. This is the most proven method of insuring protection of ultra-sensitive data.

Thus, all those big companies which are planning to dispose their IT equipment in an environmentally friendly way should relinquish their used IT equipment to companies which does e-waste disposal and recycling as per the prevailing laws.

If you planning to just wipeout the data from the storage media and are willing to re-sell them as used products, you can do so with the help of

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