Did you just sell your dirty little secrets on that old PC?

Computer towerThere are at least 3 dead PCs in my basement. A couple still contain working hard drives, which is why they are still sitting in my basement (not to mention, you never know when you might need to poach pieces from one to insert into another). There IS another underlying reason, which is that they still contain data and I just haven't done anything to completely wipe them clean.

I recently read on Geek.com that 40% of hard drives contain sensitive data when sold. Scary thought, eh?

Here's my fave part of the article: "In a one month period [Hard drive forensics company Kessler International] set about purchasing 100 hard drives via the auction site eBay from the U.S. and Canada. They actively avoided hard disks where sellers had listed them as being erased and ended up with drives ranging from 40-300GB in size. The results they found were quite eye opening with 40% of the storage devices containing some form of personal or sensitive information."

So what's a seller to do? Geek.com suggests erasing or at least encrypting your data so it can't be accessed without a password. CNET has a list of approved downloads for erasing and encrypting.

Think back: have you sold any used computers? Given them away? What was on them? All you surfing history? Banking information? Personal pics of your kids? {shivers}