A vulnerable hiding place for your customer’s personal information

  • Team Omega
  • August 17, 2011

You are going about your daily business, when you find an old Word document in your laptop that has some Personally Identifiable customer information in it. Since you recently updated your data security policies and have decided not to store information like this outside of your password protected database, you do the right thing and delete the file. Most people know that you should then go to the recycle bin and empty the can. You did the right thing, and can now get back to the task at hand.

But wait, did you know that the file you just deleted is not gone forever!!! With a number of free or low cost software tools, the file can easily and quickly be recovered. How is this possible? The quick answer is that when you delete a file, your Windows operating system now considers that usable space. It may get overwritten in a few months, or a few years. You may not be too worried about the information on your personal computer, but please take a moment to consider what kind of financial or customer information may be stored on your work machine. The bad guys know this is a vulnerability, so you should consider addressing it in your overall data security plan.