Confidential data found on junked New Jersey Computers.
Taxpayers' Social Security numbers, confidential child abuse reports and personnel reviews of New Jersey workers nearly went to the highest bidder after the state sent surplus computers out for auction.
Nearly 80 percent of surplus computers in a comptroller's office sample had not been scrubbed of data before being shipped to a warehouse, according to an audit released Wednesday.
"At a time when identity theft is all too common, the state must take better precautions so it doesn't end up auctioning off taxpayers' Social Security numbers and health records," Comptroller Matthew Boxer said.
This type of equipment requires careful handing to make sure all the confidential data on the hard drives has been erased or otherwise destroyed. Just hitting the 'Delete' key doesn't do the trick. A program like File Shredder or Shredit should be used to ensure all deleted data is truly gone for good. Or the drives should be destroyed by using a drill press to drill through them (and the internal platters), making sure the data cannot be read.
Someone got sloppy, lazy, or stupid, allowing state-owned computers to go up for sale without making sure the drives had been wiped clean. Identity theft is tough enough to deal with without state government making it easy for the bad guys to get that kind of information.