And even though many have them have had wipe attempts, texts, photos, and emails still persist on hard drives and mobile devices
Only 75 percent of used hard drives bought from sites such as Amazon and eBay have been wiped of data, a new study has found.
But even if an attempt to delete personal data has been made, many of the devices still contain residual data, the study suggested.
Examining hard drives and mobile devices that were bought second-hand, 48 percent of the drives examined in the study were found with residual data left on board.
Leftover data, such as emails and text messages, were found of 35 percent of mobile devices bought second-hand for the study from brands such as LG, Motorola, and Apple.
A total of 2,152 emails and 10,838 texts were retrieved from the 20 second-hand mobile devices purchased by Blancco Technology Group and Kroll Ontrack, the companies behind the research.
The companies say the amount of residual data left is a “cause for concern” for businesses.
Nearly half of the 102 hard disk drives and solid state drives examined by the researchers contained data, despite 61 percent of the devices having been quick formatted. A random overwrite was attempted on 11 percent of the drives, and a basic delete was also used on 11 percent. Researchers said that the data left from quick formatting can be a “serious problem”.
Paul Henry, IT Security Consultant for Blancco Technology Group, said: “Whether you’re an individual, a business or a government/state agency, failing to wipe information properly can have serious consequences.
“One of the more glaring discoveries from our study is that most people attempt in some way or another to delete their data from electronic equipment. But while those deletion methods are common and seem reliable, they aren’t always effective at removing data permanently and they don’t comply with regulatory standards.”
Between May 2015 and August 2015, the research teams purchased a combined total of 122 second-hand hard disk drives, solid state drives and mobile devices sold in the U.S., Germany and the U.K. from the following online marketplaces: Amazon, eBay and Gazelle.com. All second-hand equipment was randomly selected and purchased based on availability.