Threat Tuesday: Should I Sell My Old Computers on eBay?

Blake CormierNews

eBay is a great place to unload your unwanted stuff — and to make a few dollars doing it. This includes thousands of listings for used laptops, workstations, and servers, as well as hard drives and other components. Many companies see selling their used equipment as a way to recoup some value and offset the cost of new assets. But is the risk worth the reward?

What risk? You may ask. Well, again and again, news headlines have reported that proprietary, protected, or even classified information has been found on computers and hard drives sold on sites like eBay.

The latest of these reports comes from Germany. German magazine Der Spiegel reported that a laptop formerly used by the German military was purchased on eBay for about $100. The device which was still running Windows 2000, was easily accessed by using the username “Guest” and the password “guest”. It contained classified military information, including details on how to operate (and defeat) the “LeFlaSys Ozelot” mobile air defense system.

So does that mean that it’s always dangerous to resell old equipment? Not necessarily. As we mentioned, there is a huge market for used computer equipment on eBay and other sales sites. So, remarketing is often part of a comprehensive IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) strategy.

But it’s only safe to do so after the device has been properly wiped and sanitized of all sensitive data. This could mean overwriting the drive with random data — and then verifying that the overwrite was successful. Or it could mean removing the storage devices and securely shredding them. Either way, it’s a process best left to a professional ITAD service provider, such as CyberCrunch. We have the expertise and the tools required to ensure that your data doesn’t end up like the German military’s laptop — out on the open market full of sensitive data.

Contact CyberCrunch today for your free ITAD consultation.