An ESET analysis published this week found that companies selling outdated network equipment sometimes fail to remove confidential information from it. As a result, sensitive information is leaked from corporate IT systems. The researchers said that half of the 18 used routers they received for their study contained confidential information. They also found that only five had completely wiped out the network, credentials, and even physical building security information.
What You Need to Know About the Security Risks of Used Routers
You might think this finding has nothing to do with your life. But the story’s moral is that if you don’t wipe your devices before you sell or recycle them, you leave yourself vulnerable to bad actors. And this is not about the used routers only.
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Your computer, for example, is a prime example of this. We are sure that your hard drive(s) contain a lot of sensitive information. So imagine what would happen if a bad actor got hold of your old hard drive. I must admit that I have a plain text document on my computer that contains all my passwords. So nothing will save me if I forget to delete it before I sell my old laptop to someone else.
We can recommend that you use some encryption tools. This way, even if used routers, PCs, and other devices end up in someone else’s hands, no one will be able to access your data. But it requires some computer skills. So here is another recommendation. If you are going to reset Windows, choose the version that also erases the hard disk.
What about smartphones? Making your data more secure is much easier because you can turn encryption on by default or reset it before you sell it.
You may not have the resources of a corporate IT department, but you don’t have to protect yourself any better than they do. As this research into business practices shows, companies don’t always follow the right procedures. Be smarter than they are and do things the right way.