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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Web Stalkers
Chapter 1 -
The Illusion of Anonymity

Dumping a Computer

Nearly every form of consumer electronics on the market today has become disposable.  It is doubtful that there are any new DVD repair shops in the neighborhood.  The rapid pace of technological advancement has made the lifespan of many new products shorter than one could have imagined just a brief time ago, and computers are no exception.

A study by Carnegie Mellon University puts the number of computers that will be in landfills by 2005 at 150 million.  According to a recent study by the National Safety Council, more than 63 million personal computers will likely be retired in 2005. 

Some of these retired machines will end up in the storage sheds of well-intentioned techies, who plan on fixing them up one day or using them for parts.  Others may be donated to charitable organizations that can still make use of older equipment.

In some areas like California and Massachusetts, disposing of computer equipment in the garbage is illegal and can subject a person to fines.

However a person chooses to retire their machine, it is vital to ensure that all sensitive data has been completely removed.  Even if equipment is destined for the landfill, provided that is a legal method for disposal, precautions must be taken.  The information contained on the hard drive of most computers is a gold mine for anyone who knows how to retrieve it.  A machine used for on-line banking, or to conduct e-commerce will be loaded with sensitive data.  It is not necessary for a computer to be operational in order to uncover information.  Any moderately tech-savvy crook can remove the hard drive from a discarded machine and get access to everything on it.  Before throwing away an old computer, remove the hard drive and destroy it.  This is the only way to ensure the hard drive is never read again.

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert

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