Identity Theft - The Time Bomb On Your Desktop

by Richard Odell - Date: 2006-12-21 - Word Count: 455 Share This!

Way back at the very birth of PC software, programmers faced a major dilemma and that was, just how could they prevent the accidental loss of sensitive or valuable information?

As you could imagine the implications of this could be very serious, not only for the user, but also to the company who published the software; lost information results in a lot of very irate customers, which equals culpability and legal action. So, a fail-safe was introduced, a simple one, but one that made sense at the time, and that was just to change the first few digits of the code which pointed to the file. With this change the rest of the program was altered to recognise this new pointer code as just empty space that was available to overwritten - problem solved!

Fast forward a few years and the world is now a different place, computers are now in virtually every home. Like it or not they are here to stay, they now touch so many aspects of our personal lives, that it is not impossible to believe, that without them the world as we know it would grind to a halt. Information has never been such a valuable commodity; today we use computers more than ever to store and carry out transactions, using our most sensitive and personal details; we trust this electrical box of tricks, with what amounts to all that we own and all that we have worked so hard to acquire; yet through no fault of its own it is fatally flawed!

What the programmers failed to foresee was two things, firstly that the equipment like all household appliances has a shelf life and would eventually be sold on or disposed of. Secondly that utility software development would develop far beyond their original programming. To understand this better, is to realise that a whole industry has now established itself around these original PC programs and that it is now easy to find a cure for any problem that your computer may encounter; this also includes data recovery.

Today we do not have to call in the services of a data recovery lab to retrieve lost information, as these utility programs are freely available on the Internet for very little money. Computer disposal is now not just a matter of deleting off the information (or as they would have you believe format the hard drive) and dumping the unit; it involves a far more extensive responsibility to safe guarding your personal information.

There is a time bomb on your desktop that has the potential to blow up in your face, it has a flaw in its very make-up that was designed to protect, but it was developed in a time that identity theft did not exist.

Related Tags: identity theft, computer recycling, data erasure, data destruction, secure deletion, reformat hard drive

Richard Odell is an 'Internet Based Author/School Caretaker', his interest in publishing work on the web came about by pure chance? Faced with the safe disposal of the old I.T. suite at the school where he worked, Richard set about researching the subject, so that he could carry it out without falling foul of the Data Protection Act. What he unearthed was a shocking security failure within the very structure of the software that we use each day, to entrust our most valuable information. What shocked him even more was the lack of awareness, not just with the general public, but also with the Police and local Authorities.

His digital publication 'Hard Drive Sanitizing Made Simple' is now available to purchase at...

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