Sensitive information for shooting down intercontinental missiles as well as bank details and NHS records was found on old computers, researchers say.
Of 300 hard disks bought randomly at computer fairs and an online auction site, 34% still held personal data.
Researchers from BT and the University of Glamorgan bought disks from the UK, America, Germany, France and Australia.
The information was enough to expose individuals and firms to fraud and identity theft, said the researchers.
Professor Andrew Blyth said: “It’s not rocket science – we used standard tools to analyse the data”.
The research involving the Welsh campus was led by BT’s Security Research Centre and included researchers at Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the US.
In addition to finding bank account details and medical records, the work unearthed job descriptions and personal identity numbers as well as data about a proposed $50bn currency exchange through Spain.
While the whole report is not ready the details found on this study are extremely critical, all these information are not properly encrypted or secured is just a surprise. Be sure to make your hard drive securely wiped or is strongly encrypted to not worry about any data stored on the HD .
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