The 2016 hard disk study on information available on the second hand market in the UK

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Elsevier BV

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Education




Jones, A., Angelopoulou, O., Vidalis, S., & Janicke, H. (2017). The 2016 hard disk study on information available on the second hand market in the UK. In European Conference on Information Warfare and Security ECCWS (pp. 193-199). Curran Associates.


A joint study was carried out by the University of Hertfordshire and De Montfort University to determine whether computer disks that were purchased on the second hand market contained any retrievable information or whether the contents of the disk had been effectively erased. The research revealed that, for the majority of the working, analysed disks, the information had not been effectively sanitised and individuals as well as organisations could be identified. This study was the first one conducted between the two affiliated institutions, but results from similar studies have been presented in the UK the last 5 years. The adopted methodology followed the principles from studies that were carried out internationally in previous years. A total of 110 computer hard disks were randomly selected from a source in the second hand market and supplied through a third party. The research involved the forensic imaging of the disks, followed by an analysis of the disk images to determine what information remained and whether it could be easily recovered using forensically verified tools and techniques.

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