Warning Over Selling Your Old Computer

Action Fraud are warning people to be careful when looking to make some extra cash selling their old computers.

According to new research from a leading international data security company, found that 42% of used hard drives sold through Ebay still contained sensitive data, which could be compromising. The research found that 15% contained personally identifiable information, even when sellers had stated they had properly wiped the hard drives of all personal and sensitive data.

The study analysed 159 computer drives purchased in the UK, UK, Germany and Finland. The findings highlighted a major concern that whilst sellers recognise the importance of removing data, they are using methods which are inadequate.

A spokesperson for the company who carried out the research said: “Selling old hardware via online marketplace might feel like a good option, but in reality it creates a serious risk of exposing dangerous levels of personal data. By putting this equipment into the wrong hands, irreversible damage will be caused – not just to the seller, but their employer, friends and family members. It is also clear that there is confusion around the right methods of data erasure, as each seller was under the impression that data had been permanently removed. It’s critical to securely erase any data on drives before passing them onto another party, using the appropriate methods to confirm that it’s well and truly gone. Education is the best ways to permanently remove data from devices is a vital investment to negate the very real risk of falling victim to identify theft, or other methods of Cybercrime.”

About Cybercrime

Hacking, Phishing, Malware are just some of the familiar terms and phrases that scarcely existed a decade ago but are now part of our everyday language, as criminals use new technologies to commit cyberattacks against governments, businesses and individuals. These crimes know no borders, either physical or virtual, cause serious harm and pose very real threats to victims worldwide.

‘Pure cybercrime’ refers to crimes against computers and information systems, where the aim is to gain unauthorized access to a device or deny access to a legitimate user.

Traditional forms of crime have also evolved as criminal organisations turn increasingly to the Internet to facilitate their activities and maximize their profit in the shortest time. These ‘cyber-enabled’ crimes are not necessarily new – such as theft, fraud, illegal gambling, the sale of fake medicines – but they have taken on a new online dimension. Cybercrime is progressing at an incredibly fast pace, with new trends constantly emerging. To avoid being a victim of cybercrime, it is important that we keep up to date with the latest techniques criminals use to target people and also keep ourselves safe online.

Protect Yourself From Cybercrime:

  •  Never respond to any emails, text messages, letter or social media that look suspicious, or that have bad spelling or grammar.
  • A genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue asking for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. If you receive a message like this, ignore it.
  • If someone you have never met before asks you for money, do not give them any and report it.
  • Always question uninvited contact. This is relevant whether it is on the doorstep, over the phone, by post or online. Always contact the company directly  yourself.
  • Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text or email. Make sure you use a strong password, and change them regularly.
  • Trust your instincts, if you feel at all wary or suspicious, you’re probably right.