Many among us, come across various exchange offers on E-commerce websites in India and abroad. They seems to be very lucrative and affordable sometimes. And when we want to get rid of unused stuff we this it’s the best option. Getting 5000 or sometimes 10000 for old mobile, and then discount on new Mobile or Laptop or any other item like LED TV, looks profitable. And it seems to almost everyone of us, no strings attached to it. Just hand over old mobile, sign the paper that this product belong to you and you are done.
But, have you ever gave a thought to this process in deep. I mean on darker side of this process. To begin just imagine what they do with this old old stuff? Think simple to simplest idea of their use by these companies. Let us sum up few thoughts:
- They can repair these products and sell them in second hand products market.
- They can sell them part by part to be used in other devices.
- To be refurbished and sold off to people all over world, who cant afford a new one.
- They just dump them and get payment by company who got it exchanged to sell their new products. And so on …… as many as you think.
But, did it ever come across your mind that they can steal your data also………….?
No. Then read this article : http://news.mit.edu/2003/diskdrives
“January 15, 2003
MIT researchers uncover mountains of private data on discarded computers
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–Discarded computers, even those with “erased” disk drives, may harbor confidential information such as credit card numbers and medical records, two MIT graduate students found.
Scavenging through the data inadvertently left on 158 used disk drives, the students at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science found more than 5,000 credit card numbers, detailed personal and corporate financial records, numerous medical records, gigabytes of personal email and pornography.
The disk drives were purchased for less than $1,000 from eBay and other sources of used computer hardware. Only 12 were properly sanitized.
“There are many stories in which somebody has bought a used computer and found confidential information on it, but nobody has ever quantified the scale of the problem,” said Simson Garfinkel, one of the students. “So we decided to find out.”
Results from the study, which Garfinkel performed with Abhi Shelat, are being published in the January/February 2003 issue of IEEE Security and Privacy. The research suggests that the secondary market is awash with confidential information, although work needs to be done to get more accurate statistics. More than 150 million disk drives were retired from primary service in 2002.
Of the disk drives acquired, 129 were functional. Of these, Garfinkel and Shelat found 28 disk drives in which little or no attempt had been made to erase any information. One of these drives, Shelat says, had apparently come from an automatic teller machine in Illinois and contained a year’s worth of financial transactions.
Attempts to erase information from the drives were usually ineffectual. On many disks, files that would typically be found in the “My Documents” folder had been deleted, but they could be recovered using a simple “undelete” utility. Undelete programs work because deleting a file does not actually overwrite the blocks on the computer’s disk that are used to hold the file’s information.
Roughly 60 percent of the disks were formatted before they were sold, but even formatting did not properly sanitize a disk because the Windows “format” command doesn’t actually overwrite every block–“the format command just reads every block to make sure that they still work,” Garfinkel said. “To properly sanitize the hard drive, you need to overwrite every block.”
On one of the “formatted” disks, Shelat found more than 5,000 credit card numbers.
Roughly 45 percent of the disks contained no files at all and the disks could not be mounted on the computer. Yet the data could still be retrieved by reading each block of the disk using special tools.”
This Means that the mobile and laptop we handover to such people, are not sure of what’s going to happen with them.
What they can extract from them? HHmmmm few things that come to my mind are:-
- Personal Photo 2. Video 3. E-mails. 4. Stored Password. 5. Card and other data etc. etc. etc.
How do they do this? There are many data recovery softwares in market who can recover data from formatted disks, dead drives, broken screen mobiles, damaged mobiles, water or heat damaged devices and the list go on and on.
Commonly used softwares that we use to recover lost data.
- Recover My Files. http://www.recovermyfiles.com/
- EaseUS. http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/recover-deleted-files.htm
- Pandora recovery. http://www.pandorarecovery.com/
- Stellar data recovery. https://www.stellarinfo.com/free-data-recovery.php
- 7 data Recovery. http://7datarecovery.com/
** 19 such software list and their uses are given in this article we came across on internet:
Strange, but its true. 99.9% people in world think deleting files from mobile or laptop is enough. Or even formatting is last thing they do to delete their data on digital devices. Well, that is not enough.
There are many ways to delete data permanently and then there are less chances that anyone can recover it. Obviously if you do follow these steps and steps of these softwares, you can handover your old devices in exchange schemes without any tension.
What they do?
Uses several advanced shredding algorithms (Dod 5220-22.M, US Army, Peter Guttman) to securely wipe data.
- File Shredder. http://www.fileshredder.org/
- KAKASOFT software. http://www.kakasoft.com/file-shredder/
- Avast Shredder. https://www.avast.com/en-in/f-data-shredder
- Max Shredder. http://maxpcsecure.com/download_fileShredder.htm
- Disk Wipe. http://diskwipe.org/
There are 36 such softwares we came across online in this article:
Hope, you all will follow small steps to safeguard your data before giving your old or unused products in exchange programs.
Credit of this article goes to dear friend Sunny Shokeen for discussing this topic with me. I thought of sharing with you all.