The Information Security Research Group at the University of Glamorgan forensically recovered personal and corporate information from disks bought off eBay, on account of BT and Life Cycle Services. An article titled ‘Dead disks yield live information’ has appeared in ‘The Guardian’ detailing the findings and statistical information derived from the analysis.
It would be wise for users to forensically wipe their drives when selling or giving away any device with a hard disk drive.
A good example is that of Apple Mac OS X which allows for secure deletion either when installing a fresh system or from within the system with the use of diskutil .
diskutil secureErase freespace 2 /
There are multiple levels of secure deletion: 1 – Single pass randomly erase the disk, 2 – US DoD 7 pass secure erase, 3 – Gutmann algorithm 35 pass secure erase. Now that is what I call a good selection of algorithms.
People with more experience can comment on other utilities which do securely wipe drives. It is commonly known that not all programs that claim to wipe hard disk drive do actually wipe them.
‘Dead disks yield live information’, The Guardian – http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1840396,00.html
diskutil man page – http://www.hmug.org/man/8/diskutil.php