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One Person’s Rubbish is a Hacker’s Treasure - The Dangers Of Unsafe Hardware Disposal

One Person’s Rubbish is a Hacker’s Treasure - The Dangers Of Unsafe Hardware Disposal


Once a piece of IT equipment is broken, finished, or obsolete, no-one’s going to bother to go to the trouble of using it again for anything, right? Not necessarily...

Many inexperienced IT administrators, business owners, and equipment officers fall into the trap of thinking that once a machine is classed as ‘used’ or unwanted, it’s effectively useless to the company and everyone else.

Click here to download our FREE guide: '7 Crucial Steps To Follow When  Disposing Of Old IT Equipment'

What was once an asset is now an outdated, dead paperweight, taking up valuable space.


A quick, cheap, or free IT recycling service might tempt some smaller, cash-strapped companies.

You should never consider doing this without carefully assessing the company’s credentials, accreditations, and experience. Why?


The Perils Of Unsafe Data Disposal

Your old business machines may still be of great use to someone else looking to find out more about the company or your clients for malicious or illegal purposes.

Old customer databases, financial records, minutes, and ‘dead’ saved passwords that still work are a goldmine for unscrupulous hackers. Historic but relevant information about your company can be used in corporate espionage, identity theft, financial fraud, and phishing scams.

Login information is particularly valuable. Old, inactive user accounts might be used to hijack your servers to send spam emails, spread encryption-locking ransomware through your networks, steal up-to-date files, or compromise a brand (or personal) identity and your reputation by posting malicious content on social media.


Why Are Your Used IT Assets So Useful To Cybercriminals?

Just because a machine breaks, becomes outdated and incompatible, or has its operating system cleansed or removed, it DOESN’T mean that confidential and valuable data held on the hard drive has been fully erased.

Storage media is designed to keep files intact indefinitely if left untouched. Sensitive digital data may still be recoverable, even if it’s been ‘deleted’ manually from the Recycle Bin (in Windows OS builds). The files are held in the hard drive’s virtual ‘table’ until overwritten by new data. If this didn’t happen, they could be retrieved. Apps such as browsers can also save data and documents, letting them slip through the net.

Deleted files can be recovered simply by accessing them by using legal, commercially-available file conversion and data recovery software. Off-the-shelf, cheap programs are good enough for most scavenging, opportunistic hackers. Only very basic computer skills are needed.

These criminals often comb unlogged IT dumps in poorer countries, charitable donations, illegally landfilled IT items, and fly-tipped electronic waste for working hard drives and any surviving remote storage media. Scams and heists are then planned remotely, based on what they find.

Data Sanitisation and IT Asset Disposal with Absolute IT

If you need to get rid of old IT devices, Absolute ITAD specialise in the reliable, legal, environmentally-friendly, cost-effective destruction and sanitisation of used IT assets.

As well as recycling any usable components and materials from old computers, laptops, and tablets, we’ll permanently erase your used data - physically and virtually.

Our HSS disk drive shredders and data wiping software ensure excellent standards of post-use IT security and GDPR compliance for all our customers.


Call or email our team today to learn more.


How To Dispose of Old IT Equipment

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