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Cybersecurity News, Advice and Opinion

Secondhand Laptop Gives Thief Access To Previous Owners Bank Details

Posted by Jo on Mar 17, 2014 12:37:00 PM

A 15 month jail term has been handed to a man in China for stealing 18,974 yuan ($3,085) from online payments accounts. According to a press release from Songjiang District People's Court, the man, surnamed Deng, had purchased a second-hand laptop online last September, and found that the previous owners personal data was still stored.

Deng used the stored data, that consisted of usernames and passwords, to access two online payment accounts. He then altered the account credentials, switching the associated phone numbers with own and then emptied the accounts of 18,974 yuan to his own account.

The owners of the accounts were sent a message to say that their credientials had been altered, they then called their bank to find that their accounts had been drained. The victims informed the police and arrested Deng two months later.

During Dengs trial the court suggested that computer owners who intended to sell, recycle, or give away their devices should delete all their personal information.

trashThis is great advice however, removing data from a computer’s hard drive, involves more than simply putting the file in the trash can and then emptying it. A recoverable imprint of your data will remain on the hard drive even after formatting your computer or resetting it to factory default.

With a few simple steps you can fully protect yourself and your personal information when getting rid of old devices. The first method is to physically destroy the hard drive, albeit impractical it is very effective. A more practical solution for the average person is to use secure data removal software.

Programs such as CCleaner and Eraser work by overwriting the original hard drive information many times, eventually removing the traces. They do not require the dismantling of the computer, nor expert knowledge. At their maximum security setting they can take a very long time to delete all your data, the benefit being that once complete it will be virtually impossible for your personal information ever to be recovered.

Following on from their study, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office have also published their own guidelines on how to securely delete information.

In the event of a hack or data security breach, where personal accounts have been compromised, passwords will need to changed. By adopting the use of a password manager, like my1login will not only help you implement strong complex passwords for all online accounts, those passwords can easily be changed if a specific account is hacked. It also removes the hassle of having to remember individual logins.

my1logoPWMFB250my1login allows you to use one super strong and unique password that grants you access to all of your account, without having to remember the individual logins. Therefore, you can create strong complex passwords for all your accounts, for example a typical password for your gmail account could be “$~dY>zD9n_+J]SkMZoPlZhBZ3″ and a typical password for your Facebook account could be “DCTt8B-4J#F$Hxssv7}3k)oax”. The length and entropy of these passwords make them extremely strong, and using different passwords for all your accounts means that should any remote site be compromised no other account of yours would be compromised.

If you'd like to see how my1login can improve your online security and help protect you against hacks, try out the my1login password manager for free, or leave your email address and we'll send you an information pack.

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