I’ve been watching a debate over the last week, or more, on one of the email lists relevant to my current professional field, Litigation Support. It all started with a comment by a computer forensic vendor in which he mentioned that they routinely buy used hard drive on eBay and use them to practice and test their forensic tools, trying to recover whatever data they can. There has been quite a controversy over whether that’s professionally ethical or not, but that’s not really the reason for this post. My feeling on whether that’s ethical or not is irrelevant.
My concern is much more basic than that. I just thought maybe you all would want to think about where your old drives are going when you decide to get rid of a computer! Even if you reformat the drive, much of that data can be recovered with the right tools, and that’s assuming the recycling place you dropped it off at actually takes the time to do the reformat. We’ve all seen too many stories of drives not being wiped at all when they’ve been resold. Surely we all take steps to prevent that, right? On the other hand, how many people do you know who do a quick format and assume it’s clean? It’s not. Do some research, ask around, find a secure way to wipe that drive, or, as one of my listmates suggested take the ultimate secure HD tool to it, a 12-gauge shotgun.
What other tools do you recommend to your users? Hammers, screwdrivers to the plates, metal shredders? Let us know!