Nude photos, tax statements and more: Old USB drives contain highly sensitive info

A whopping two-thirds of secondhand USB drives contain recoverable data from the previous owner, including some highly sensitive and personal information, according to a new study. The study, done by the University of Hertfordshire and commissioned by Comparitech, said almost 70 percent of secondhand USB flash drives sold in the U.S. and U.K. still contain recoverable data from their previous owners. Researchers purchased 200 USB memory sticks – 100 in the US, 100 in the UK – from eBay, secondhand shops, and traditional auctions, Comparitech said. Of the 100 drives purchased in the U.S., 64 had data deleted but it could easily be recovered. The corresponding number was 47 for the U.K. “Researchers discovered a wide range of intimate, private, and sensitive files,” Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate who writes for Comparitech.com, said. That includes nude photos, business documents, ID scans, job applications, wage slips, private memos, tax statements, receipts, and medical documents. Click here for details of some of the more notable recovered data:

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