Over 75k sensitive files found on pen drives sold on eBay


Cybersecurity researchers from the University of Abertay have discovered that the pen drives sold on eBay are still having sensitive information that when reached to hackers could be used in blackmail campaigns.


Researchers say that the extracted information was procured using a forensic recovery tool dubbed USB Write Blocker- software used to pull mass data from the devices like a computer hard drive.


The point to be noted over here is that the information extracted was the one that was deleted from the drive but existing in the memory in traces.


Passwords, bank statements, health records, photos, videos happen to be the information extracted from the drives and is enough for the hackers to blackmail the sellers.


“It’s concerning as there is always a chance for cybercriminals to misuse such information leading to serious consequences”, said Karen Renaud, a professor working for the Cybersecurity division of Abertay.


So, all you out there, preparing to sell your old computing devices on eBay, you better make sure that the information on the drives is scientifically erased.


Note 1- Usually, we can store data on a USB flash drive aka pen drive for 10 years. A lot depends on how we are using it over and over again, as every flash drive has its lifecycle depending on user usage. In general, life expectancy depends on the number of write/erase cycles. And when the limit gets reached some portion or nearly half of the pen drive memory cannot function anymore, leading to data loss or in rare cases corruption.


Note 2-Also do make sure that you are covering the drive when not using it as it prevents dust accumulation on the flash drive components. Also, temperature changes can play havoc in the functioning of a pen drive. And to make sure that you get the best out of the flash drive, always remove it from the USB port only when you click on the eject the drive option from your icon tray that is located at the bottom right of the screen near the clock.

Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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