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42% of used hard drives sold on eBay still contain sensitive data

The findings will make worrying reading for anyone looking to make some extra cash by selling their old hard drives. 


42% of used hard drives sold through eBay still contain sensitive data according to new research from a leading international data security company.

Of these, 15% were found to contain personally identifiable information (PII) even where sellers stated they had used proper data sanitation methods prior to the sale.

The study, carried out by Blancco Technology Group in conjunction with partner, Ontrack, analysed 159 drives purchased in the US, UK, Germany and Finland.

The findings highlight a major concern that whilst sellers recognise the importance of removing data, they are using methods which are inadequate.

Fredrik Forslund, VP, cloud and data erasure of Blancco stated that, “Selling old hardware via an online marketplace might feel like a good option, but in reality, it creates a serious risk of exposing dangerous levels of personal data."

Top Tips: 

  • It is critical to securely erase any data on drives before passing them onto another party using the aporpriate methods to confirm that any and all data is permenently gone. 
  • Norton and other verified software companies have step by step guides on how to securely erase hard drives.