When buying a new phone or laptop, you try to shop around and find the best prices. Often, one solution you will come up with is to trade in your old phone and get an upgrade. That sounds pretty smart, right? After all, there is a reason that you are getting a new one. Thousands of businesses make money this way.
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But someone has to be buying these devices in order to make it worth their while. The problem? Those devices have a lot of data on them that should have been erased, but never was.
The Blancco Technology Group found that a large amount of personal and confidential information is easy to get out of resold and refurbished phones that were wiped. Out of the 200 devices that they were able to test for their study, 78% had some residual data on there that should have been gutted.
The study looked at 200 devices that were acquired during the first quarter of 2016 alone. of that bunch, there are some solid-state drives and standard magnetic hard drives. Most of the drives were purchased on eBay or Craigslist. According to the report:
- 43% of the drives had photos
- 24% of the drives had GPS data (including photos with GPS data)
- 23% of the drives had social security numbers
- 21% of the drives had financial data
- 10% of the drives had resumes
What is even worse is that some of the drives had corporate data on them, which could be bad news for businesses.
Part of the problem is that people don't know the difference between erasing data and deleting it. When you delete something by putting it into the recycling bin, you aren't actually getting rid of it.
Formatting a drive does erase the data on it, but that doesn't mean everything is erased.
Quite honestly, the best approach is to just take your computer, tablet, or phone, and crush it so pieces. What you are getting is not worth all of the hassle.