Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Driving a hard bargain for data

Ongoing research to be published in the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry suggests that there is a huge amount of sensitive data still on redundant computer hard disks.

These devices are often disposed of or sold into the second-hand market by corporations, organizations, and individuals with the data intact. The report's authors say that this data represents a significant level of risk for commercial sabotage, identity theft, and even political compromise, and suggest that better education is essential to reduce the risk of harm.

It is not well known among computer users that simply deleting a file from the hard disk does not actually remove it from the computer but simply deletes its entry in the index for the hard drive. To remove all traces of a file requires the actual data to be wiped using "digital shredding" software. Such software is readily available and should be run as a high priority by individuals, companies and organizations intending to pass on their legacy computer hardware to third parties.

Andrew Jones, Head of Information Security Research, at British Telecommunications, in Martlesham Heath, UK, working with Glenn Dardick of Longwood University, in Farmville, Virginia, and colleagues Craig Valli, of Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, and Iain Sutherland of the University of Glamorgan, UK, have analyzed data that remained on a number of second hand hard disks that had been obtained on second-hand markets.

"The research revealed that a significant proportion of the disks that were examined still contained considerable amounts of information, much of which would have been of a sensitive nature to the organization or individual that had previously owned the disk," the researchers explain.

The team adds that the percentage of disks that have been effectively wiped had fallen significantly, from 45% to 33%, since the previous year's survey. "With only 33% of working second-hand disks having been effectively wiped, it is reasonable to comment that this is an area where there is significant potential for improvement," they say.

They make several recommendations for improved data security - with regard to hard disks and other storage media, including memory cards, mobile phones, and other devices, and suggest that public awareness campaigns by Government, the media, commerce and/or academia ought to be run to help reduce the risk of sensitive data entering the information black-market.

The 2007 study is being made available in its entirety through the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry. The team is now completing the 2008 analysis and will announce those results shortly as well. However, the initial results for the 2008 study show that there is still a long way to go regarding the decommissioning of computer hard disk drives. The team expects that the complete 2008 study will be made available for publication by the end of the year.

Albert Ang | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>