BT study shows sensitive data still available on eBay

A study commissioned by BT and conducted by the Faculty of Advanced Technology at the University of Glamorgan has revealed -- among other personal information -- missile defense plans on one of 300 used hard drives purchased around the world to determine exactly what type of information could be recovered.

34 percent of the 300 disks examined contained information of either a personal nature that could be identified to an individual or commercial data identifying a company or organization. The researchers concluded that a “surprisingly large range and quantity of information that could have a potentially commercially damaging impact or pose a threat to the identity and privacy of the individuals involved was recovered as a result of the survey.”

So what exactly did they discover? One disk bought on eBay revealed details of test launch procedures for the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) ground-to-air missile defense system, used to shoot down Scud missiles in Iraq. The disk also contained security policies, facility blueprints, and personal information on employees all belonging to technology company Lockheed Martin -- which designed and built the missile system.

Lockheed Martin is said to be investigating how the information ended up on the disk, as it claims the disk was not owned by the company.

Another disk, purchased from France, contained network data and security logs from the German Embassy in Paris. A disk from a U.S. bank revealed account numbers and details of proposals for a $50 billion USD currency exchange through Spain.

In addition, details were uncovered concerning business dealings originating in the U.S. with organizations in Venezuela, Tunisia, and Nigeria. Other personal correspondence was also found from a member of the Federal Reserve Board suggesting that one of the deals, already under scrutiny by the European Central Bank, looked suspicious.

Professor Andrew Blyth, who led the research at the University of Glamorgan, said in a statement: “Of significant concern is the number of large organizations that are still not disposing of confidential information in a secure manner. In the current financial climate they risk losing highly valuable propriety data.”

Dr. Andy Jones, head of information security research at BT added: “This is the fourth time we have carried out this research and it is clear that a majority of organizations and private individuals still have no idea about the potential volume and type of information that is stored on computer hard disks.”

“For a very large proportion of the disks we looked at we found enough information to expose both individuals and companies to a range of potential crimes such as fraud, blackmail, and identity theft,” he added.

The drives were bought from Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States through computer auctions, computer fairs, and eBay. The research was carried out by BT’s Security Research Center in collaboration with the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the United States.

The research will appear in the next issue of the Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology.

Like this article? Please share on Facebook and give The Tech Herald a Like too!

From our Other Sites

Man Makes Tiny Edible Pancakes with Tiny Kitchen Tools (Video)

This Japanese guy cooks up some pancakes…nothing special there right? Well he uses tiny implements to do it and makes perfect little pancakes. Kinda cool and they look tasty!

What Color is this Dress?

White and Gold or Blue and Black?
Well this one has been trending all over the web, just what color is this dress? It all started in Scotland when the mother of a bride-to-be sent a picture to her daughter asking what she thought of the dress. The bride and groom each saw the image differently, this then got posted online and picked up by some viral sites. The lighting in photo is probably  causing different people to see it as either white and gold or blue and black. Prof Stephen Westland, chair of color science and technology at a University in the UK told the BBC that it was impossible to see what other people see but that it was most […]

McLaren 675LT Pictures

Some great shots of the forthcoming McLaren 675LT. This coupe will get you to 60mph in less than 2.9 second and go all the way to 205mph.

McLaren 675LT Details

McLaren’s 675LT will debut at this year’s Geneva show and promises some eye-popping performance. The coupe only 675LT has a 3.8 liter V8 that will get you from 0-60mph in less than 2.9 seconds and to 124mph in less than 7.9 secondsMore than a third of the parts have been changed compared with its stable mate […]

McLaren 675LT Wallpaper

Some cool McLaren 675LT Wallpaper. The McLaren 675LT is the latest coupe to come from the supercar maker and has a top speed of 205mph.Click on an image to open a page with multiple sizes that you can download to use as wallpaper for your mobile or desktop.More McLaren Wallpaper.

Octopus hunts on land, grabs crab (Video)

This crab is minding its own business searching the rock pools for food when suddenly an octopus leaps out of the water and grabs it. The amazing thing is that the octopus does not just jump on the crab it actually pulls it all the way back to the rock pool it came from. If you check the second video you will see it is not unknown for octopus to come out of the water and the one in the second video has a crab with it, though is not hunting one! Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve The video was taken by Porsche Indrisie in Yallingup, Western […]

Stunning Mars Rover Selfie

This image by the Curiosity Mars rover is not exactly your typical selfie. It is made up of a bunch of images taken by the rover during January 2015 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager. This (MAHLI) camera is at the end of the robot’s arm. For a sense of scale the rover’s wheels are about 20 inches diameter and 16 inches wide. Check the annotated image below for more information on the surroundings. Also if you really want to see some detail click this very large image, 36mb, at NASA.  

How the Sahara Helps Feed the Amazon (Video)

Sahara to Amazon
This cool video from NASA shows how dust is transferred across the Atlantic to the Amazon rainforest and helps nourish the plants growing there. For the first time scientists have measured the amount of dust and the amount of phosphorus in the dust. The later acts like a fertiliser and helps replenish the phosphorus the rainforest loses each year, around 22,000 tons. Amazing how something we perceive as being desolate like a desert actually has an important role in sustaining somewhere we see as teeming with life. Image and video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Bouncing Laser Guided Bomb (Video)

This amazing video shows a laser guided bomb bouncing back up after hitting its target. We actually think this is a non-explosive bomb designed to test guidance systems but it is still pretty remarkable and somewhat scary.

South Koreans Swallowed by Sinkhole (Video)

Thankfully the couple survived their adventure.
This amazing footage taken from the CCTV on a passing bus shows the moment two pedestrians in South Korea fall down a sinkhole in the street! Rescue workers managed to save the pair, who were treated in a nearby hospital for minor injuries. According to reports the city authorities and the Korean Geotechnical Society are looking into the cause.