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Old 06-19-2008, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Ballantyne - Endhaven Communities
280 posts, read 859,861 times
Reputation: 65

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Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
I suspect whoever ripped off the laptop didn't spend time perusing the info - they probably wanted to unload it as quickly as possible . . . and whoever bought it doubtless cleaned off the drive . . .
Just so everyone understands what I was trying to say - just cause you think you "cleaned off the drive", that does not mean you actually did. When the computer does a standard deletion or format, all it does is mark the areas of the drive that you are formatting as empty - it does not change the actual magnetic makeup of the drive. Because of this - in order to actually clean off a drive, you have to securely reformat it - meaning delete everything and re-write over it all, then delete it again.

Y'all don't have to listen to me or believe that people steal laptops many times for the information that they may contain, and you don't have to believe that it's easy to do - just don't be surprised if it happens to you haha.

Information is the most valuable thing we have these days - don't underestimate everyone and assume they aren't smart just cause they have your stolen laptop.

And yes, I know that her laptop doesn't have any valuable info on it, I am just trying to give everyone reading this a heads up about the possibilities.

Just my opinion.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:07 AM
 
677 posts, read 2,017,247 times
Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaTechKA View Post
Just so everyone understands what I was trying to say - just cause you think you "cleaned off the drive", that does not mean you actually did. When the computer does a standard deletion or format, all it does is mark the areas of the drive that you are formatting as empty - it does not change the actual magnetic makeup of the drive. Because of this - in order to actually clean off a drive, you have to securely reformat it - meaning delete everything and re-write over it all, then delete it again.

Y'all don't have to listen to me or believe that people steal laptops many times for the information that they may contain, and you don't have to believe that it's easy to do - just don't be surprised if it happens to you haha.

Information is the most valuable thing we have these days - don't underestimate everyone and assume they aren't smart just cause they have your stolen laptop.

And yes, I know that her laptop doesn't have any valuable info on it, I am just trying to give everyone reading this a heads up about the possibilities.

Just my opinion.
He's right. I've had people come to me with hard disks that have bene wiped wanting some level of data recovery. Its surprising to me how much I can pull off a 'wiped' drive. Also, Its surprising how much I could pull off a 'dead' drive that my friend said no longer worked.

If I sell a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) I use a system that instead of marking the start and stop sectors, will actually write every single bit on the platters with 0s then again with 1s and again with 0s again. Doing this on lets say a 40GB HDD took me 5 days of writing, if not longer. If you format your computer and it takes 20 minutes, your data is still there.

Sorry to go off topic, this doesn't relate to the thread really. Just wanted to reinforce that just b/c you delete something doesn't mean its gone.

Something else to think about in the future, Lo-Jack offers laptop protection service too, although I'm not sure how it works or how well.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Ballantyne - Endhaven Communities
280 posts, read 859,861 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrConfigT View Post
He's right. I've had people come to me with hard disks that have bene wiped wanting some level of data recovery. Its surprising to me how much I can pull off a 'wiped' drive. Also, Its surprising how much I could pull off a 'dead' drive that my friend said no longer worked.
Thank goodness another techie came in to support my claims! Maybe now people will believe it haha
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:18 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,212,814 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaTechKA View Post
Just so everyone understands what I was trying to say - just cause you think you "cleaned off the drive", that does not mean you actually did. When the computer does a standard deletion or format, all it does is mark the areas of the drive that you are formatting as empty - it does not change the actual magnetic makeup of the drive. Because of this - in order to actually clean off a drive, you have to securely reformat it - meaning delete everything and re-write over it all, then delete it again.

Y'all don't have to listen to me or believe that people steal laptops many times for the information that they may contain, and you don't have to believe that it's easy to do - just don't be surprised if it happens to you haha.

Information is the most valuable thing we have these days - don't underestimate everyone and assume they aren't smart just cause they have your stolen laptop.

And yes, I know that her laptop doesn't have any valuable info on it, I am just trying to give everyone reading this a heads up about the possibilities.

Just my opinion.
Oh, I hope my post was not misunderstood. I totally agree w/ everything you said. I understand that info can be retrieved off a hard drive even if it has been "cleaned." I was not meaning to sound like I was refuting you at all. There is info all over the web (if you really look) advising how to really clean a drive and how vulnerable we are even when we think stuff is deleted. Several operating systems ago, I had a clean sweep/zap it program for my Mac that supposedly wiped off everything, but that little program was not compatible w/ newer OS, so I no longer have it. I have been told the best thing to do is take the whole motherboard out b/f disposing of a computer.

I was just hoping to reassure Anu that hopefully, since nothing particularly sensitive (other than pix) were on the drive - that it is doubtful anything bad will happen re: identify fraud. Plus - Anu has done everything possible at this point, it appears . . . it is just a very unfortunate situation.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Ballantyne - Endhaven Communities
280 posts, read 859,861 times
Reputation: 65
Oh, no, I didnt feel like you were refuting me, I just wanted to make sure that everyone reading the thread understood that this was possible. I realize that ID theft is not really a threat to the OP based on the contents of the drive, but who knows who is reading this! haha

Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
I have been told the best thing to do is take the whole motherboard out b/f disposing of a computer.
Again, this is off topic, but I will say that all the identity thief needs to get your information is your hard drive, nothing else. Typically, they will take the hard drive out of the stolen computer and plug it into one of their own machines and use tools they already have to recover the data. Removing the motherboard will not keep this from happening. You can do a secure erase with various programs that should make it nearly impossible to recover data without spending a lot of money. Also, if you are disposing of the computer instead of donating it somewhere, you can just take the hard drive apart and destroy it. Perhaps you could even us a magnet to destroy the drive.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:36 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,212,814 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaTechKA View Post
Oh, no, I didnt feel like you were refuting me, I just wanted to make sure that everyone reading the thread understood that this was possible. I realize that ID theft is not really a threat to the OP based on the contents of the drive, but who knows who is reading this! haha



Again, this is off topic, but I will say that all the identity thief needs to get your information is your hard drive, nothing else. Typically, they will take the hard drive out of the stolen computer and plug it into one of their own machines and use tools they already have to recover the data. Removing the motherboard will not keep this from happening. You can do a secure erase with various programs that should make it nearly impossible to recover data without spending a lot of money. Also, if you are disposing of the computer instead of donating it somewhere, you can just take the hard drive apart and destroy it. Perhaps you could even us a magnet to destroy the drive.
Thanks for the info! I have a computer to donate . . .
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Akron Oh
187 posts, read 376,413 times
Reputation: 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by VaTechKA View Post
Thank goodness another techie came in to support my claims! Maybe now people will believe it haha
Yes sir. Writing zeros.....

I have seen hard drives that were dropped off the side of a boat, sat in Lake Erie for a whole month, and then were recovered, sent off to whatever that really good recovery place is in Houston, and the drive come back intact. It costs $2000 and up, be that is comparatively nothing depending on what was on the drive.

If they can get the platter out of the drive, there's a 99% chance they can recover it.

Now, will Joe Ghetto that stole the laptops pay $2000 for your data? He will take $250 for the whole laptop!

The last time I had to care about a hard drive, I took the drive apart, took the platter to a local metal shop and had it run through a grinder. That customer's data was THAT sensitive.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Ballantyne - Endhaven Communities
280 posts, read 859,861 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie1261 View Post
Now, will Joe Ghetto that stole the laptops pay $2000 for your data? He will take $250 for the whole laptop!
Joe might, but his $250 wielding customer might be a bit smarter than that haha.

Where better to find sensitive data than a laptop that was taken without warning? You can rest assured the data was not securely erased! haha
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,975 posts, read 17,602,900 times
Reputation: 5009
Agree with the HD destruction. When we donated our old PC to Goodwill, I pulled out the HD and hammered it to death. Anybody that wants to re-use that PC better cough up some $40 to buy a new hard drive. Will reformatting and re-installing an OS write over it, or should I reformat, reinstall OS then reformat again to make sure it has zeros?
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Ballantyne - Endhaven Communities
280 posts, read 859,861 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bibit612 View Post
Agree with the HD destruction. When we donated our old PC to Goodwill, I pulled out the HD and hammered it to death. Anybody that wants to re-use that PC better cough up some $40 to buy a new hard drive. Will reformatting and re-installing an OS write over it, or should I reformat, reinstall OS then reformat again to make sure it has zeros?
There are programs that will automatically securely erase a hard drive. The OS re-install will help, but it will only overwrite the files that were on the section of the hard drive on which the new OS is installed. This will eliminate most of your concerns, but not everything. I would just use a secure format program. I have no recommendations of one at this time, but I can look if you need me to. PM me for help.
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