A new identity theft study conducted by leading University of Leicester criminologist, Professor Martin Gill and sponsored by Capital One found that second-hand computers - which account for one in 12 computers in use worldwide1 - can be a potential treasure trove of personal information - putting users at risk of fraud and identity theft. The study urges personal and business computer users to ensure that all data is removed from their computers prior to disposing of them.
During his study, Second-Hand Computers and Identity Fraud, Professor Gill and his team purchased six computers through a mixture of second hand channels. They then conducted a forensic data analysis on each one, using a widely available software programme.
Half of the computers had in fact not been securely wiped. In one case there had been no attempt to wipe the contents whatsoever. Worryingly, data retrieved from two of the computers contained information that could be used by an identity thief.
Alex Jelley | alfa
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