Security issues in returning faulty new computers

  setecio 09:26 05 May 2007

Recent articles have highlighted the importance of wiping hard drives when disposing of an old PC.

What about when you return a faulty newish computer (still in warranty) after you have used it to buy things with credit cards and use online banking and documents with personal info. Even if you back them up and delete them they are still on the hard drive.

Do you just trust the manufacturers ?

If they give you a new PC, what happens to the old one ... is the data securely erased ?

  Forum Editor 09:54 05 May 2007

which claim to permanently erase data files. Here's one of them:

click here

  GANDALF <|:-)> 09:54 05 May 2007

Anyone who stores credit card details on a computer deserves all they get. It is as bad as writing down the 4 digit code for your DD card and keeping it with it or, as I have seen, written on the back of the card. In most banking You have to enter two or so letters from your main password and these are randomly generated so it would be unlikely that anyone could gain access. If you keep your banking password on your computer you really deserve all that comes as you can obviously not be trusted with money. Most documents, whilst important to their owner, are double dull to the rest of the world but as external storage is cheap, there is no excuse for copying them off the HD. All this takes is a little personal responsibility and a tiny bit of common sense, something which many people cannot comprehend.


  setecio 10:11 05 May 2007

Gandalf, common sense is not enough to erase data from your computer. Things you type on the keyboard may be recovered with the right tools - it is those tools I am referring to - tools that go way beyond common sense, recovering data left in RAM, data left on the disc etc etc. For someone bent on sucking everything that they could from a PC, this is quite easy.

My question is about the widely available data recovery tools available to anyone who wants them, that retrieves deleted information and things which were not 'stored' by the user, the footprint left behind of your recent transactions.

  Forum Editor 10:36 05 May 2007

on a computer deserves all they get"

A lot of people may not realise that some of these details are being stored by cookies.

Growing numbers of people are less than happy with the idea of a remote machine placing spurious files on their system which may contain personal information including user IDs and passwords - especially when a credit card has been used for purchasing goods or services on-line. There is little benefit to the user. The speed gains are marginal at best, and some users are now setting their browsers to reject cookies, or deleting any received during the day.

'If in doubt, don't accept a site's cookie' used to be the advice given, but now many sites won't let you in unless you accept the cookie. Deleting files isn't totally secure, and nor is formatting the drive - you wouldn't do this if you were returning a new computer anyway.

There's no data left in RAM - it's cleared when you shut down your computer.

"Things you type on the keyboard may be recovered with the right tools"

Not unless there's a hardware or software keylogger running on the computer.

  spuds 19:50 05 May 2007

This subject as been mentioned on previous occasions. Sending a faulty computer back, usually suggests that you have read and understood the terms and conditions of the retailer and/or manufacturer. This may state that the will not be responsible for any data stored. Some people who have sent computers away for repair, have complained that on return they have had an hard-drive cleaned and reformatted.

Another point of consideration is the fact that some people have purchased new computers, only to find that it contains another persons data.This would suggest that the computer or hard-drive had been returned, then sold on ,possibly after repair or returned under the Distance Selling regulation at a later time.

I have a programme (but have never used) called WinUltraCleaner Destroy-It!, which according to the package 'Meets and Exceeds Data Destruction Standards set by the US Dept of Defense DoD 5220.22-M. But personally I would consider total destruction of the hard-drive (ie Metal furnace),if I had anything to hide.

  Simsy 20:02 05 May 2007

or shouldn't be stored on an internal HDD may well be a subject for debate...

However, the original post was querying how to delete info from a HDD if a machine has to be returned under warranty...

If the machine isn't working then software can't be used to "clean" the drive, so that avenue, (for the purposes of the question), is ruled out...

So do we just have to trust the manufacturers was the question. It's certainly an interesting one. It seems to me that the answer is "Yes"

I don't know the answer. I'd be interested to hear what others think as well.



  spuds 22:44 05 May 2007

A previous posting click here

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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