Australian Digital Forensics Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


SRI Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


Second hand storage devices can be treasure troves of confidential data. This study investigated the remnant data on second hand memory cards that were purchased through Australian second hand auction websites throughout 2013. Memory cards continue to increase in capacity and are used in both smart phones and tablet computers as persistent storage. During this study a total of 140 second hand memory cards were purchased throughout 2013. Each memory card had its data recovered and subsequently analysed. The results show that sellers are sending memory cards with no evidence of erasure; poor attempts to erase data; or simply asking the buyer to erase the data prior to use. The data recovered is not only of a personal nature, but also appears to originate from Australian government departments and business. It is evident that actions must be taken by second hand auction sites, and the media to raise awareness and educate end users on how to dispose of data in an appropriate manner.


Originally published in the Proceedings of the 11th Australian Digital Forensics Conference. Held on the 2nd-4th December, 2013 at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia