Tech Friday


  • Large number of used hard drives contain data from the previous owner:
    •  An increasing number of devices can store data and need to be properly cleared at the end of their useful life, this is known as "sanitization"  
    • Two MIT Graduate students did a study in 2002 where they scavenging through 158 used disk drives
    • They found more than 5,000 credit card numbers, detailed personal and corporate financial records, numerous medical records, gigabytes of personal email and pornography
    • A recent study by the University of Hertfordshire had similar findings
    • 200 used hard drives were purchased (half in the USA, half in the UK) and searched for data that could be recovered 
    • 59% of used hard disks were not sanitized:
      • 26% had been formatted
      • 17% contained "deleted" data
      • 16% percent had no attempt made to wipe the data
    • Only 26% of the drives had been properly wiped and contained no recoverable data. The others were inaccessible
    • The drives contained a wide array of data, much of it sensitive
    • Devices that need to be sanitized include computers, tablets, smartphones, printers, IoT devices and others  
    • Erasing is not enough. Deleting files and formatting a drive will NOT actually destroy the data
    • Depending on the data you need to sanitize, you may need to destroy the device
    • Some recycling companies will wipe data and give you a certificate that it’s been safely erased
    • Learn more about sanitation here: https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-88r1.pdf
    • Learn e-cycling digital equipment here: https://www.intrust-it.com/recycling-computers-in-cincinnati/
  • A Snapchat "game" asks children for intimate information:
    • A new "game" appears to be making the rounds on Snapchat
    • Kids get a list of options and they are supposed to post something from the list
    • The post says: "…You became a part of the game. You should have never commented or reacted to my post. The person who reacts or comments on my post must choose one of the following phrases & post it on their own Snapchat story For 24hrs…"
    • The list includes some questionable items including "I’m pregnant", "my mom found my drugs" and other intimate information including sexual acts
    • Kids need to be especially careful about what they’re posting as the person on the other side of the screen may be a predator
    • Additionally, kids often don't understand the potential long term nature of the information they are posting and the potential long-term consequences
    • You can't assume that anything in digital form will stay private
    • You can't assume that the so called privacy settings of a site will keep things private
    • The less you share the better
  • 2019's largest hacks to date:  
    • Most high-profile hacks this year seem to be focused on financial gain
      • Ransomware attacks continued to hit local governments across the US 
      • Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams are continuing to grow every year, with a 100% since last year
      • WhatsApp was hacked and used to install spayware
      • An iPhone hack targeted Uighur Muslims in China
      • Hackers stole US Customs and Border Protection through a contractor
      • 150,000,000 user records exposed through the Flipboard breach
      • Quest Diagnostics breach exposed 11.9 million patients’ records
      • First American Corporation’s website leaked over three quarters of a billion mortgage deal documents
      • Hackers used Microsoft’s Visual Studio to install a backdoor into at least 3 video games
      • Fortnite players hit with ransomware
      • Hackers installed backdoors on thousands of ASUS computers
      • Supply chain attacks increase
      • Over 100 million records stolen from Capital One