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Should I be concerned? (data recovery related)

Old 10-11-03, 12:08 AM
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Should I be concerned? (data recovery related)

I recently bought a 2nd external USB hard drive to back up my first one to. I got all the files copied to it fine but it later locked up during a Norton AV install and then went belly up. I never was able to reformat it, even with the software tools from the company's web site.

Without really considering the rammafications, I returned it to the store I bought it from and they refunded my $$$ and said I could just go buy another one to replace it. It didn't occur to me until later that they now have the bad drive with all my data still on there. Does anyone know what happens to defective drives? Are they refurbished and if so, what does that entail?

I guess I'm wondering what the chances are some techie somewhere will look to see if there is any data on the drive and see my stuff. As to the question, "are there sensitive files on the drive in question" - absolutely! All my passwords, including work stuff! Crud.

Any advice would be welcome.

-Gunshy
Old 10-11-03, 12:30 AM
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well, it depends on how badly the hd was damaged. if the data is still on the platters, then the data could be extracted, though it wouldn't be easy for a joe blow to do.

i don't know what refurbishing entails, but if they use the same platters, then chances are, the info would still be on there.
Old 10-11-03, 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by D.Pham00
well, it depends on how badly the hd was damaged. if the data is still on the platters, then the data could be extracted, though it wouldn't be easy for a joe blow to do.

i don't know what refurbishing entails, but if they use the same platters, then chances are, the info would still be on there.
Well, the damage wasn't physical in the sense the HD was dropped or struck. I suspect, for whatever reason, it the allocation table that got bagged and that, combined with some other issue, caused access, such as an attempted reformatting, to blow sectors away, making it even less readable. Still, I assume the data is mostly still intact, assuming you could get to it, since the reformat never got past 5%.

-Gunshy
Old 10-11-03, 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by Gunshy
, assuming you could get to it, since the reformat never got past 5%.

-Gunshy
even if the format completed, the data could still be recovered.

What you have here is a case of how hard is someone willing to try to get your data. A refurb tech may or may not be interested and may or may not have the ability to get the data.

Either way it is not a matter of "can" someone, because yes they can. It is a matter of "will" someone make the effort and do they have the tools and knowledge.
Old 10-13-03, 11:00 PM
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Well, I went ahead and spent most of Sat. creating all new passwords for those key sites I have logins for that were on that drive. Sheesh! Whatta nightmare . I have sooooo many logins going back to the heady dot com days of heavy coupons, and I find it's just easier to reset the passwords than get the company to delete the account which many seem unwilling to do. Even on a T1 it took me most of the day and there are still about 50 to reset, not including some company ones. Beyond that there's nothing I can do I guess, about the other sensitive data on that drive except wait and see if anything strange starts to happen with my CC cards etc.

While I'm on the subject, what do you think is the best password scheme? I've been going with: mixed case, made up words (versus dictionary words [too easy to guess/crack] and letter jumbles which I just cannot commit to memory ever) with some numerals and the occasional punctuation mark thrown in (E.G. "!" or "_"). I wonder if I should have tried to use a password generator program, E.G. a Perl script (there must be modules for this purpose) to make generating a couple hundred passwords easier and possibly more random. Thoughts?

OH, thanks 4KRG & D.Pham00 for your input.

-Gunshy

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