Should you trust a reseller store to securely erase your data?

New Jersey has a few reseller stores that offer to sell your devices on for cash. They either sell them in their own store or sell them on eBay or other outlet and offer cash on the day for your device. Some of these stores promise to securely wipe the device before selling it on, but are they? If they are wiping data, are they doing it properly?

Regular readers of the Dave’s Computers blog will know that we can recover data in all kinds of situations with the right tools and approach. Even when you think data has gone forever, our guys can work their magic and recover all, or a good portion your data within hours.

So would you trust your old phone or hard drive to a reseller you don’t know?

If you answered yes, you might like to read this report. It’s a study by Rapid7 that spent six months buying devices from reseller stores and testing them for accessible data. Of the 85 devices they bought, only 2 of them had been securely wiped before being sold on. That’s 2 out of 85 phones, laptops, tablets, desktops and hard drives.

The data recovered from these devices included:

  • 611 email addresses
  • 50 birthday dates
  • 41 social security numbers
  • 19 credit cards
  • 6 licenses
  • 2 passports
  • Thousands of images and documents

This shows quite clearly that you should never trust anyone to look after your personal security and privacy aside from yourself.

Data recovery works both ways. It works in your favor when you lose something as we can recover it for you. That’s a good thing. It works against you if you don’t securely wipe your data before selling your device because if we can recover your data, so can someone else with the same expertise.

Securely wiping data is something we talk about a lot here at Dave’s Computers. Our data recovery team are well aware of this trend of passing on old devices with data still accessible on it. A simple disk format or delete just isn’t enough.

If you’re reselling a phone, tablet or laptop. Perform a factory reset and/or securely wipe the drive. Mac and iPhone can be factory reset to wipe data. Android devices are the same. Windows devices need more attention and will require the use of DBAN or professional data wiping from Dave’s Computers.

As you can see, trusting someone other than us or yourself could be a big mistake!