Data Recovery Study [Hard Drives]

"Fulcrum Inquiry analyzed 70 used hard drives purchased from 14 different sources. Most of the drives purchased were supposedly cleansed of all information. Peskaitis and Schultz also asked for the process that was used to clean the drives and were usually told that the drives had been low-level formatted.
Using computer forensics, Fulcrum Inquiry attempted to recover information from these hard drives. Admittedly, the tools used by the duo are complex and technical but electronic-knowledgeable thieves can - easily - do what they did.

From the disks that actually worked, Fulcrum Inquiry recovered private data from almost two-thirds (62 percent) of the disks. (...) The properly cleaned drives were either low-level formatted or wiped using special software that overwrites data.
A Goldmine of Personal Information."

"Personal information available on the purchased disks included:

1. Bank accounts and credit cards
2. Personal pictures of babies, children, weddings, friends and vacations
3. Business e-mail and attachments
4. Web browsing details"

"Lessons to be Learned:

1. Information can be recovered from a hard drive even if attempts have been made to delete files, or by performing a quick format.
2. Users know they need to remove their old information but lack the technical understanding to accomplish this properly.
3. Properly cleaning drives is time-consuming. Too many vendors took the quick but also incomplete route.
4. The lower the value of the drive, the less likely it was cleaned properly. The data on the "small" drives was still voluminous and worthy of keeping safe."