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Study Reveals Confidential Information Found on Recycled Computers

A 2017 study conducted by the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) showed 40% of recycled computers contain personally identifiable information (PII). This is the largest study to date evaluating the presence of personal information on computers, phones, and tablets sold on the secondary market. Since so many of the devices we use have electronic storage, no one is safe from the risk when a device reaches the end of its use.

What kind of information was found on these devices?

The information uncovered was robust and came from hard drives, phones, and tablets alike. Tablets were the biggest offenders with 50% of them housing recoverable information. Hard drives came in second—44% contained recoverable information. Only 13% of phones had information to recover, but that’s still more than one in ten. 

The types of information gleaned included usernames and passwords, personal photos, tax information, and credit card numbers. The devices studied came from both commercial and personal environments.

Replacing your old technology with new devices can be fun, but knowing what to do with what you no longer need isn’t always clear. Preparing and disposing of items like computers, phones, printers, copiers, and tablets is tricky. These items all contain hard drives full of information. 

Erasing all data is a good step to take but you can’t stop there.  Work with an accredited data destruction specialist that is NAID Certified. This will ensure your electronics are disposed of properly along with a set of guidelines designed to protect your data.

DataShield Can Help

DataShield is a NAID AAA certified information security company. Our service offerings include paper shredding, electronics recycling, data destruction, records management, and compliance consulting. Call us today to avoid data security mistakes that can lead to lawsuits, exposed confidential information, and identity theft.


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