A survey released this week has found that companies don’t always dispose of old PCs and mobile devices securely.
Conducted by security company Pointsec Mobile Technologies, it found many companies are leaving the contents available to whoever buys them on the second hand market, with a large proportion being shipped off to third world countries where the information can be used in the many identity theft corruption scams.
The survey showed that less than half of the 329 major corporations questioned use professional disposal companies to destroy their old computers. The rest chose to sell them to second hand dealers or sell them to staff, which often means that the next recipient has access to all the old data. Only 17% destroy them in-house which is arguably the safest approach, as companies can witness that the right procedure has been followed to adequately destroy the data.
Martin Allen, Pointsec managing director said: “We’ve all heard about PCs thrown away in UK council tips that have ended up in West Africa with local extortionists and opportunists selling the contents such as bank account details for less than £20. Many corporations can also fall victim to this sort of scam by selling their old PCs to second hand dealers who often don’t have the skills or resources to reformat and clean them adequately.”