RealNews

Old hard drives yield data bonanza

Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate students have uncovered a treasure trove of personal and corporate information on used disk drives. Simson Garfinkel and Abhi Shelat, students at MIT’s Laboratory of Computer Science, said Wednesday that they bought 158 disk drives for less than $1,000 on the Web and at swap meets. Scavenging through the drives, they found more than 5,000 credit card numbers, medical reports, detailed personal and corporate financial information, and several gigabytes worth of personal e-mail and pornography. Their findings, titled “Remembrance of Data Passed: A Study of Disk Sanitation,” are being published in the January/February 2003 issue of IEEE Security and Privacy, a journal published by the IEEE Computer Society. Full Story

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