The risks of not disposing of data correctly

Incredibly, in this time of mass hacking, data theft and other risks, one of the biggest sources of leaked information is businesses or individuals just selling or dumping their old IT equipment, PCs, servers, tablets and mobile devices. Many users still believe that a quick format or reset to factory mode will forever remove all their data.

The second life of your old data

Unfortunately, that is far from the case and there are many people who take a great interest in seeing just what can be recovered from old devices. There are a few cases that make the headlines, such as old military equipment being probed and old data being recovered, anything involving a celebrity and the occasional embarrassing exposure of business data. But in most cases, the information remains out of public view.

In some cases, the data is shared on hacker’s forums for others to view and do with as they please. Since most data is largely out of date, encrypted or password protected, or benign, there is little anyone can do with it. Yet, in some cases, especially if someone overcomes the encryption or password protection, there can be small treasure troves of data that will be sold on to criminals for them to make use of.

Anything from email lists, which can be added to spambots, to financial account details, which can be tested to see if they are still current, as well as other information will have some value to someone. The original company or owner might never be aware that the data has a second life, but since hackers are getting very good at blackmail and extortion, if there is something particularly juicy in the data, then they could try and extort some money.

Data enforcement should help stop old data escaping

With all the rules focused on data protection, including the new GDPR to protect data over its life cycle, there is less risk of this sort of leak happening. But as long as people believe that data can easily be lost, or that no one cares about an old hard drive on an old office PC, there will continue to be instances where companies lose data and it ends up in the wrong hands. Get in touch ( to find out how we can help your business protect its data and prevent this low-grade loss of data affecting your business in the future.