Computer forensics

Sanitizing Old Computers

By Richard D. Cannon, CFE, CFCE

In an age when government agencies and private companies are striving to keep up with current technology, old computers are being sold or recycled to recoup some of the cost associated with upgrading. Does your office "clean" the hard drives before the systems are recycled? How effective is the process they use? 

An AP news story out of Helena, Montana, reported in May that the Montana legislative auditor announced that several state agencies had sent to surplus a large number of computers without ensuring that their hard drives' data had been destroyed. Most of these computers were destined to be sent to Montana public schools but some were to be sold to the public or transferred to other state agencies. Unclear state policy was blamed as the cause of this risk to confidential information.

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