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A MODERN COMPUTER PROBLEM

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devonwoody

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I purchased a new computer 15 months ago and never disposed of the old model at the time. I was always intending to keep the box as a stand by.
However things were getting overloaded in our small home (buying too many goodies) I put the computer up for sale in the local paper free adds.
I got a bite the very next day (plus another 4 within 48 hours) and sold the computer to 3 Polish boys (they were computer literate types) who have come over from the mainland now they are EC members.
The next day after selling the computer there was a TV news item warning people to be careful how they dispose of their old computers because there is a racket. The racket is stolen identies. This information is on your harddrive,i.e. creditit card transactions,and other things. It appears its no good just formatting the hard drive experienced computer users can still get at info on your hard drive.
There is some software around that supposed to wipe out info but knowing the virus industry it wont be long before hackers crack this softweare?
I have telephoned my credit card company and they are issueing new card numbers.
It looks to me if the hard drives will have tobe removed when selling on a computer?
 
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Anonymous

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devonwoody":2fufef1k said:
There is some software around that supposed to wipe out info but knowing the virus industry it wont be long before hackers crack this softweare?
If you use something like disk wiper you won't need to worry:

http://www.disk-wiper.com/

And as for cracking the software, what is there to crack? So they crack the program - big deal, they won't be able to undo the low level rewrite of the hard disk, which is exactly what disk wiper does. It obliterates the information.

Let me explain by way of example. Let's say you buy a paper shredder which allows you to shred 5 pieces of paper and then it stops working. You shred your 5 pieces of paper. Then someone comes along to install a fix on the shredder so that it will shred another 5 pieces of paper. Installing that fix won't unshred the previously ribbonised paper.

It looks to me if the hard drives will have tobe removed when selling on a computer?
If you wanted to be ultra-safe then yes you'd remove the hard disk. But using something like disk wiper removes that problem.

Do you burn your old bank statements, or just throw them in the rubbish bin?

Andrew
 

devonwoody

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Hi handy mac

The item to software and hacker was badly phrased. I was meaning if people can make viruses and they can then be controlled. People will find a way to get at a harddrive after you think you have wiped it clean.

I think they way forward is to remove the hard drive form the old computer and put this in your new model, then put the new harddrive in the model you are selling.
You of course keep all your old rubbish yourself!!!
 
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devonwoody":kbmaxjnk said:
The item to software and hacker was badly phrased. I was meaning if people can make viruses and they can then be controlled. People will find a way to get at a harddrive after you think you have wiped it clean
If you use a product such as disk wiper then forget these guys being able to read information from the hard disk - it has literally been wiped out and cannot be recovered. And people who write viruses don't necessarily have the intelligence to understand what's going on down at the grass roots of disk architecture - it's a bit like saying that a car body spayer knows all about how to fix engines - there's a possibility that he might, but it's by no means certain.

If you are relying on a simple disk format operation then you are definitely leaving information on the hard disk which, with the right tools, can be read back. This isn't rocket science and I'm sure you can download such tools from the Internet without difficulty.

The reason for this is technical and I will try to explain in simple terms.

When you format a disk you essentially write the sector headers to the hard disk. These are the signposts that the disk routines use to find their way about on the hard disk. Think of it like a road sign - you might renew the road signs in a town and not touch any of the roads, they've still got all the double yellow lines and markings on the road.

Using a tool such as disk wiper doesn't leave traces, because it overwrites (scrambles) the data - in the road sign example given above you'd not only replace the signs but you'd bulldoze and replace the road surfaces in the town at the same time. Your painted lines no longer exist.

I think they way forward is to remove the hard drive form the old computer and put this in your new model, then put the new harddrive in the model you are selling. You of course keep all your old rubbish yourself!!!
This isn't necessarily a good approach. The reason being that although most times this will work fine, the CPU in the new PC might have some additional features which weren't in the old PC. So you might be effectively running an "old" operating system with your "new" PC.

And if the PC's are running Windows XP then it's very likely that XP will refuse to operate properly 'cos it will figure that it has been illegally installed on another PC.

When you install an operating system (such as Windows), various drivers and so on are loaded to suit the motherboard and CPU. Those drivers might not match properly. Worst case, the PC won't work at all.

Naturally, if you were to reformat and reinstall the operating system then that would be okay. But hard disks are cheap these days.

If you are truly bothered about protecting your data from the old PC then remove it's hard disk and replace with a new one before selling. Keep the old disk, or take a sledgehammer to it.

Andrew
 

Jaco

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Received an e-mail the other day advertising some software that will erase the Internet sites visited. Now if "Tools delete etc." does not do it, where else on the hard drive would it be held?
:D
 

devonwoody

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This is why I state that special software does not delete info from the harddrive.
Think of all the persons that have been prosecuted who thought they had cleared their harddrive.
 
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devonwoody":1cxtlaxr said:
This is why I state that special software does not delete info from the harddrive.
Think of all the persons that have been prosecuted who thought they had cleared their harddrive.
Devon

Andrew is indeed correct. The use of proper disk wiping software will erase your disk and only CIA type equipment or special labs could possibly see SOME of it.

The idiots who have been caugt probably simply deleted files or formatted the drive. This achieves very little.

Deleting files is a joke. All that happens is that the first letter of the name is erased and usually replaced with a ? or some such character. Takes seconds to recover it :)

Formatting does not wipe the drive either, just a form of index system that stores info about file locations.

Anybody who bought a new computer and swapped the hard drive with one that is 18 months old has money to burn and is a fool. Hard drives typically spin at 7200rpm all of the time the PC is on and thus are the componnent most likely to fail.

Simplest thing you can do is don't store your ceridt card details or bank details on the PC in the first place!!

Next step is to use free of purchased disk wiping software - or do what I do, never sell a PC, I give them t omy kids to use or use them for other tasks that my main one is not carrying out such as running operating systems other than Windows, controlling equipment etc.
 
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Anonymous

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remove hard drive and buy a second hand one to sell in the machine . The chances of people recovering data from your old HDD is pretty remote. They have more chance going through your bin (how much junk mail do you chuck away without shredding) you will be surprised how much info about you is in your bin :lol: . Lets not get paranoid just because of a bit of news on TV :shock:
 

devonwoody

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OK Ana.
but
3 Polish lads very computer literate paid hard cash to buy my old computer.
Thats what made me start thinking. Think of other things that they can do now they have someone elses computer!!
 

Aragorn

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DW
Like what????
How is it any different from the computer literate guy from the fish and chip shop round the corner buying your computer. He's unlikely to write you a cheque!
 

devonwoody

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They have details of an old web page, old email addresses I no longer remember, which being literate computer users they might be able to access?

If possible they could then deal in some nasty stuff on my website?

What happens if you notify your server of a change of home address and new telephone number? Do you still have use of these old addresses. I cannot see tesco.net asking for current identity papers etc.

As regards Polish lads nothing personal, anybody purchasing your old computer must now be up for consideration. Because some computer users still say info can still be accessed after supposed software clearance.
 

gidon

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DW - I do understand your concerns. It's still unlikely that the chaps buying your PC have anything but honourable intentions. But could you not contact them with your concerns? Tell 'em you'll rebuild the PC for them (having wiped it safely)? May be a little late I guess if they were up to no good, but on the other hand may put you mind at rest?
Cheers
Gidon
 

devonwoody

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Gideon

No they paid cash and went off into the blue horizon, it was only after hearing the tv news bulletin on this kind of problem that I started to think.

The thread was started purely as advice on a mistake I have commited and wishing to forewarn anyone interested.

I dont have panic attacks HONEST
 

mudman

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One thing to point out is that if you use a disk wipe program, then the data will be irrecoverable.
Here's another analogy.
You're hard drive is a library of books. In one of those books is a list of you passwords. There is an index held on cards that give the location of every book and what it holds.
If you format the hard drive, then you effectively empty the card file index into an incinerator and burn them. Then replace the cards with new blank ones.
However, all the contents of your books are still there. You don't know which bookcase and bookshelf it is on so think that it can't be found. But, if you start reading each book in the library in turn from the beginning, then eventually, you will get to a book with a page that is entitled 'Passwords'. So in this case, formatting is not at all secure.

Now this time you use a wiper program. This goes through every page of every book and first of all rubs out each and ever word in the book. Then where there were words before, it writes a series of 1's and 0's. At the end of the operation, every piece of data on your hard drive has been completely removed.

I have Norton's version that comes with Norton Internet Security and this has several levels of security. The most secure does the writing of 1's and 0's three times and is supposed to be a government level secure option (or something like that).

So, I wouldn't be bothering with all that swapping of drives, just use a wiper program, 'cos once the data is gone, it's gone and cannot be reconstructed.
 

kityuser

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there is of course the other option of putting a VERY big manget near your hardrive before you sell it.

should wipe everything good and proper, another way (found the hard way) is to unplug an IDE cable while the computer is on and acessing the disk...... this breaks it good and proper.

the ONLY TRUE way of erasing data from a harddisk is to write over it aka a disk shedding utility.
 

devonwoody

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I had a Time computer and Windows was not available on CD. Its partitioned off on a section of the hard drive which was secured by a factory password code unknown to me.

So I would not have been able to demonstrate a usable computer to a prospective buyer, even if it was possible to wipe out the hard drive with security software? You would not be able to reload the Window OS.

I mention this scenario to other members who might want to sell on an OME registered computer.
 
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