Global data care expert Stellar has conducted and announced findings of the world’s largest known study of residual data in used devices.
The study analyzed a sample size of a total of 311 used devices comprising hard drives, memory cards, and mobile phones at Stellar’s central laboratory in India. The analysis revealed that a majority 71 per cent of these devices contained personal data, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and sensitive business information. In a larger perspective, the report establishes that 7 out of every 10 individuals are vulnerable to data breach & privacy risks while disposing of their old storage devices.
The study was performed to ascertain the awareness levels amongst device owners, regarding usage of secure data wiping methods at the time of selling old storage devices. It also aims to create awareness about data privacy risks when file deletion or drive formatting are used with a faulty assumption as a permanent data removal action.
The devices analysed in the study were procured from individuals, online portals and resellers across multiple locations. Majority of these devices were analyzed using a publicly available DIY software - Stellar Data Recovery that discovered thousands of files containing personal data.
The residual data can easily fall into wrong hands and can lead to identity thefts, financial frauds, personal security threats and user privacy issues. Businesses can be vulnerable to data theft & misuse of business-critical information like financial reports, trade agreements, intellectual property, business intelligence and trade secrets to name a few.
The latest 2019 study is a second and a part of the continued program of Stellar to measure the risk awareness using NAID Second-Hand Device Study Principles.
NAID (National Association for Information Destruction), an international watchdog for the secure data destruction industry with more than 2000 member companies globally, has commended Stellar for being the first organization to conduct this study by using NAID principles.