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Computer Disposal - Throwing Away Your Computer, Money, and Idenity

You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as
long as the bylines are included.

Original URL (The Web version of the article)

------------

href="http://www.defendingthenet.com/Newsletters/Throwing
AwayYourComputer-Money-And-Identity.htm" target=_blank>
Computer Disposal - Throwing Away Your Computer, Money,
and Identity?

Title
-----
Computer Disposal - Throwing Away Your Computer, Money, and
Identity?

Computer Disposal and Security
------------------------------------------------------
Computer Disposal - Security is not only important while
using your new PC, but when disposing of your legacy or old
computer equipment as well. Information can be retrieved in
several different ways once your system leaves your house or
office. In my state we have a recycling container at the
solid waste authority which you can bring your old PC’s to.
On May 31st, 2005, I decided to do an experiment and see
what people actually throw away. So, I took my trusty
laptop, an external USB hard drive shell, and waited for my
first victim. (All identities have been changed to protect
the newest casualties of the TCAD)

Leaving Your Credit Cards At The Dump
--------------------------
John Doe (age – 46)

I explained my reason for being there and asked if he would
like to participate. After obliging, I asked him a few
question. I got a laugh out of this one.

Jackson – “What would you say your technical skills are?”

John – “I don’t know -bleep-, this is my son’s computer, and
he said it was broke”

So I proceeded to take his hard drive out to see what I
could find. (And boy did I find stuff) I found 64 word and
excel documents containing everything from a book report
titled Trusting Human Nature to a detailed spreadsheet
titled Our Debt. John said "a year ago, we refinanced our
house, and my son helped us put this spreadsheet together of
our credit cards and miscellaneous debts". Believe it or not
it, actually had the names of the credit cards, account
numbers, and amount owed on each one. After I showed John,
he asked me to check if his son was surfing on sites he was
asked not to go on. I told him the system looked clean and
his son was following his rules to a T. (You owe me Junior)

Out of 5 PC’s I saw that day, all of them had recoverable
files. John Doe’s being the worst with the Our Debt
spreadsheet.

What should I do?
-----------------------------------
There are many applications that can help you format your
hard disk drive, but even their lawyers won’t allow them to
say its 100% effective.

So, what should you do? Here are a couple ideas on computer



disposal that may help:

* Go ahead and recycle your computer in an EPA fashion,
but remove your hard disk drive and add it to your new
system for extra storage (Secure);
* Find a local company that will melt you hard disk
drive. Usually a recycler or machine shop will do this for
you (Secure, but it will cost money);
* Find a local company that will use a degaussing
machine in order to eradicate your hard disk drive (Secure,
but it will cost money);
* Use a secondary application to format your drive, but
run the program 3-5 times even if it states it’s not
necessary (99.9% secure, but still possible to recover
data).

Computer Disposal and the EPA
----------------------------------------------
Make sure when you recycle your old system you comply with
the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") guidelines. Here
are some basic facts on computer disposal that will help
you.

According to the official EPA website www.epa.gov:

* The Environmental Protection Agency has strict
regulations regarding the disposal of hazardous materials;
* Penalties for violations are distributed in the form
of fines as well as Public Service;
* Nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in
the next five years;
* Many people discard computers every three to five
years;
* In 2004, only 11 percent of personal computers retired
in the U.S. were recycled.

Conclusion
----------
TVs and computers can contain an average of four pounds of
lead (depending on their size, make and vintage) as well as
other substances of potential concern like chromium,
cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, zinc and brominated
flame retardants. These materials need to be handled
carefully and are potential health hazards.

On top of all the chemicals and biohazards, your computer
probably contains personal information. If this information
falls into the wrong hands, you could be on the receiving
end of identity theft and various forms of fraud.

Websites that may be of interest:

* The Computer Disposal Requirements section of the
EPA;
* SnapFiles Handy Recovery data recovery freeware tool;
* R-tools Technology R-Wipe & Clean disk cleaning and PC
privacy software.

Jackson Morgan,

President of 'The Technical Coalition Against Dumbness
(TCAD) :)

About the Author

About The Author
----------------
Jackson Morgan is a Sr. desktop support specialist and works
with small to large businesses. He is certified to work on
many platforms and has over eight years experience in the
field. If you would like to contact Jackson you can e-mail
him at jackson.morgan@paralogic.net.

 

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