Data security
Used devices are a treasure trove for cyber-criminals

Business documents or a company’s intellectual property getting into the wrong hands can have grave consequences. However, on many used end devices, hard discs and SSDs there is still old data of widely varying kinds that can be misused by cyber-criminals.

According to Blancco and Kroll Ontrack, in an examination of 122 used devices, 48% of the hard discs and SSDs still had residual data on them. On 35% of the mobile devices, old emails, calls lists, text messages, photos and videos could be called back up. A more detailed examination showed that on 57% of the mobile devices and 75% of the storage media this data had actually been deleted.

Standard deletion methods may seem reliable but often do not eliminate the data permanently. Companies and consumers therefore need to understand which deletion methods are effective and not blindly to trust that a simple deletion will remove everything for good.

It is especially difficult to wipe out content and communication data on mobile devices. This is because manual deletion or signing out of an app does not remove the data from the device. Deleting in this way means only that the data cannot be located by the system. Physically, though, the data continue to exist and can be restored relatively easily. In the worst-case scenario, the remaining emails and text messages cause personal or financial damages for the user or their employer.

When it comes to hard discs and SSDs, whether the data are actually deleted after formatting depends on the operating system. The standard options for deleting files often lure the user into a false sense of security. Quick-formatting or reformatting are also common but unreliable methods. To ensure that no data can be restored, deletion software should be used to fully overwrite the data. (Source: Blancco/bs)