Agency / Source: Fulcrum Inquiry

Check Ads Availability|e-mail Article

Are you the owner of this article?, Turn it PREMIUM with your LOGO instead - and make it 3rd party Ads-Free! within the next hour!

Litigation Consulting Firm Releases Computer Forensics Study - Selling more than you bargained for. Computer forensic examiners at Fulcrum Inquiry find a treasure-trove of information on used hard drives
Litigation Consulting Firm Releases Computer Forensics Study

 

PRZOOM - /newswire/ - Los Angeles, CA, United States, 2007/02/08 - Selling more than you bargained for. Computer forensic examiners at Fulcrum Inquiry find a treasure-trove of information on used hard drives.

   
 
Your Banner Ad Here instead - Showing along with ALL Articles covering Fraud / Identity Theft / Piracy Announcements

Replace these Affiliate Programs at ANYTIME! Your banner here within the next hour. Learn How!

Share your Adsense publishers stories on Google tactics and your revenues drop

 

While the message about the need to destroy electronic data contained on computer disks and other electronic devices when they are disposed of has been out for some time, Fulcrum Inquiry's Steve Peskaitis and Jared Schultz thought they would test how well the public is responding to the message. The sad result of their investigation: most users are at risk of having their personal information read by others. Here is what they discovered, and what the public can do about it.

Fulcrum Inquiry analyzed 70 used hard drives purchased from 14 different sources. Most of the drives purchased were supposedly cleansed of all information. Peskaitis and Schultz also asked for the process that was used to clean the drives and were usually told that the drives had been low-level formatted.

Using computer forensics, Fulcrum Inquiry attempted to recover information from these hard drives. Admittedly, the tools used by the duo are complex and technical but electronic-knowledgeable thieves can - easily - do what they did.

From the disks that actually worked, Fulcrum Inquiry recovered private data from almost two-thirds (62 percent) of the disks. Specifically:

- 37 drives (53 percent) contained recoverable information
- 23 drives (33 percent) had been properly wiped/cleaned
- 10 drives (14 percent) were non-operational

The properly cleaned drives were either (i) low-level formatted or (ii) wiped using special software that overwrites data.

A Goldmine of Personal Information

Of the 37 drives containing recoverable data, all but four were formatted in an attempt to remove data. Despite the formatting, here is the type of information which was obtained:

Example #1 - Bob:
Bob is unemployed and on disability but has experience in the construction industry. His interests include playing his new guitar, body art and weight lifting. He appears to be infatuated with a particular female celebrity. He has credit problems and is thousands of dollars in debt. Bob served time in jail and is currently living in low-income housing.

Because Bob formatted his hard drive prior to selling it, he obviously did not want his information released. To a casual observer, all files were gone. Nevertheless, Fulcrum Inquiry recovered tens of thousands of files that would allow his identity to be stolen easily:

1. An image of Bob's birth certificate
2. An image of Bob's drivers license
3. An image of Bob's social security card
4. Bob's Last Will and Testament
5. Pictures of Bob and his family
6. Personal letter from Bob to his favorite female celebrity
7. An image of Bob's college diploma
8. Adult images and videos
9. Collection agency letters
10. Credit card statements
11. Bob's memoirs
12. Approximately twenty thousand pictures which appeared to come primarily from Web surfing
13. Financial aid documents
14. Business expense receipts
15. Rent receipts
16. Hundreds of other documents.

Example #2 - Nurse Betty:
Nurse Betty works in the pediatric ward at a hospital. Along with recovering confidential medical records and history were patient names, conditions, medicines prescribed, and the doctors who prescribed them. The hospital's efforts to remove this private information were not successful.

Betty accesses a central database of medical information. Although the database is not maintained on her computer, her computer stored the information locally. This is similar to Internet files that are stored locally when a user visits a Website. Simply accessing information often leaves remnants behind.

Example #3 - Ted:
Ted is a project manager for a state government agency. Thousands of government documents and communications related to Ted's job were recovered, many of which were labeled confidential.

Of particular importance to Ted and his job, Ted appears to be moonlighting in a field that potentially represents a conflict of interest with his government position. Ted also has many personal pictures of family and friends on his computer, as well as personal banking information.

As with practically all of the disks purchased, the vendor selling Ted's hard drive claimed it had been cleansed of all information.

Many additional examples
Other personal information available on the purchased disks included:

1. Bank accounts and credit cards
2. Personal pictures of babies, children, weddings, friends and vacations
3. Business e-mail and attachments
4. Web browsing details.

Adult content was found on both work and personal computers. Although some of the pornographic images were of the "commercial" variety, also were found personal pictures not intended for distribution.

Drives purchased from eBay had the highest data recovery rate. Every one of the operational drives purchased on eBay contained information that could be recovered.

Size and cost of the drives seemed to matter. Smaller or less expensive drives were more likely to contain recoverable information. Initially Fulcrum Inquiry focused on smaller drives - 80MB to 15GB (ranged from $0.50 to $15 per drive). Mid-way through the study, the recovery rate was 88 percent. Moving to larger drives - 15GB to 80GB (ranging from $15 to $26), the recoverable data dropped, most likely because the businesses involved took data security more seriously, and employed additional resources.

The value of the drive might explain some laxness: Properly cleaning drives is time-consuming. Someone selling an inexpensive disk might be tempted to take shortcuts.

Lessons to be Learned

1. Information can be recovered from a hard drive even if attempts have been made to delete files, or by performing a quick format
2. Users know they need to remove their old information but lack the technical understanding to accomplish this properly
3. Properly cleaning drives is time-consuming. Too many vendors took the quick but also incomplete route
4. The lower the value of the drive, the less likely it was cleaned properly. The data on the "small" drives was still voluminous and worthy of keeping safe
5. Fourteen percent of the drives were non-operational, indicating a decent chance that the buyer is wasting time when purchasing a used disk drive

Fulcrum Inquiry's advice applies to every type of electronic media including memory cards, backup tapes, cell phones, digital copiers and most handheld electronic devices.

To properly dispose of data:

1. Low-level format the drive. Do not use the quick format, which may be the default
2. Use wiping software designed to overwrite information
3. Physically destroy the media (think big hammer or very strong magnet)
4. Hire a firm to dispose of the drive. Unfortunately, this service may cost more than the value of the drive

To protect those whose information was obtained, Fulcrum Inquiry changed the names in the above descriptions. After notifying the hospital and government agency of the breached confidential records and giving them the opportunity to collect their information, Fulcrum Your Computer: Stealing From You The Easy Way

Inquiry wiped/erased all data properly.

Fulcrum Inquiry (fulcruminquiry.com) is a litigation-consulting firm based in Los Angeles, Calif. The company performs computer forensics, economic damage calculations, and expert witness testimony.

 
 
Your Banner Ad Here instead - Showing along with ALL Articles covering Fraud / Identity Theft / Piracy Announcements

Replace these Affiliate Programs at ANYTIME! Your banner here within the next hour. Learn How!

Share your Adsense publishers stories on Google tactics and your revenues drop

 

Agency / Source: Fulcrum Inquiry

 
 

Availability: All Regions (Including Int'l)

 

Traffic Booster: [/] Quick PRZOOM - Press & Newswire Visibility Checker

 

Distribution / Indexing: [+]

 
 
# # #
 
 
  Your Banner Ad showing on ALL
Fraud / Identity Theft / Piracy articles,
CATCH Visitors via Your Competitors Announcements!


Litigation Consulting Firm Releases Computer Forensics Study

Company website links NOT available to basic submissions
It is OK to republish and/or LINK any newswire for any legitimate media purpose as long as you name PRZOOM - Press & Newswire and LINK as the source.
 
  For more information, please visit:
Is this your article? Activate ALL web links by Upgrading to Press Release PREMIUM Plan Now!
|
Contact: Steve Peskaitis - FulcrumInquiry.com 
213-787-4117 speskaitis[.]fulcruminquiry.com
 
PRZOOM / PRTODAY - Newswire Today disclaims any content contained in this article. If you need/wish to contact the company who published the current release, you will need to contact them - NOT us. Issuers of articles are solely responsible for the accuracy of their content. Our complete disclaimer appears here.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Issuance, publication or distribution of this press release in certain jurisdictions could be subject to restrictions. The recipient of this press release is responsible for using this press release and the information herein in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations in the particular jurisdiction. This press release does not constitute an offer or an offering to acquire or subscribe for any Fulcrum Inquiry securities in any jurisdiction including any other companies listed or named in this release.

Fraud / Identity Theft / Piracy via RSSAdd NewswireToday - PRZOOM Headline News to FeedBurner
Find who RetweetFollow @NewswireTODAY

Are you the owner of this article?, Turn it PREMIUM with your LOGO instead - and make it 3rd party Ads-Free! within the next hour!


Read Latest Press Releases From Fulcrum Inquiry / Company Profile


Read Fraud / Identity Theft / Piracy Most Recent Related Press Releases:

Enterprise Security Concerns Drive Global Demand for Fraud Detection & Prevention Solutions Finds Frost & Sullivan
Fraud Prevention Strategies are Imperative Amid Rising eCommerce Transactions Notes Frost & Sullivan
Signifyd Named Market Leader by Frost & Sullivan for Dominating eCommerce Fraud Prevention with an Exceptional Consumer Experience
NAGRA NexGuard Forensic Watermarking Leverages AWS to Secure Pre-release and Early-release Content
Bitdefender Integrates MSP Security Suite with Datto RMM
Cybereason Announces its Newest Customer G-Star Raw
Bitdefender Finds New Attack Mechanism that Lets Cybercriminals Steal Private Data from Machines Using Intel Processors
Cybereason Briefs Several U.S. House and Senate Committees on the Massive State-Sponsored Espionage Campaign Against Critical Infrastructure Telcos
Bitdefender 2020 Consumer Line Shields Users from Privacy Invasion While Halting Online Threats
Bitdefender Delivers Proactive Attack Surface Reduction with Advanced Endpoint Risk Analytics

Boost Your Social Network
& Crowdfunding Campaigns


LIFETIME SOCIAL MEDIA WALL
 
NewswireToday Celebrates 10 Years in Business
.



PREMIUM Members


Visit  BizJobs.com

Visit  La Bella Bakery Artisan Bakery Arizona

Visit  RightITnow, Inc.







 
  ©2022 PRZOOM - Limelon Advertising, Co.
Home | About PRZOOM | Advertise/Pricing | Contact | Investors | Privacy/TOS | Sitemap | FRANCAIS
newswire, PR press releases distribution service magazines engine news alert newsroom press room breaking news public relations articles company news alerts newswiredistribution ezine bizentrepreneur biznewstoday digital business report market search pr firms agencies reports distri-bution today investor relation successful internet entrepreneur newswire distribution prtoday.com freenewswiredistribution asianewstoday bizwiretoday USA pr UK today