Program Wipes Personal Information Off Computers

Program Wipes Personal Information Off Computers

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingTechnology is changing fast and some people or businesses like to get new computers every few years to keep up with the latest developments. But what do you do with the old computer? And, more importantly, what should you do to make sure your personal information is not left behind?

A recent example: someone buys an old computer at the DI and finds a list of names and social security numbers for 6,000 employees at IHC. Fortunately, it did not fall in the hands of criminals. It's a computer that was supposedly cleaned, but that was some ten or 15 years ago and apparently some files were left behind.

Well the technology to clean old computers and make them safe has come a long way. One of the companies that has become a leader in this field started in Utah County. We first told you about them two years ago.

The White Canyon company was started by Steve Elderkin, a computer expert who worked for the FBI and Secret Service, digging secret information out of criminal's computers. He developed a program called Wipe Drive that thoroughly eliminates information from a computer.

Just deleting a file does not erase it.

Steve Elderkin, White Canyon Software: "That is why personal identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, because all our data is stored on a computers. And the scary part is, even the home computer."

His small Orem Company has grown fast and, though he still operates it, was sold to a larger company.

Nathan Jones, Regional Sales Manager, White Canyon: "Two years ago we were making 70 sales a month; we've seen more than tenfold increase."

When we first visited White Canyon Software, we were shocked to learn just how much information was left behind on three computers purchased at a second hand shop.

Derek Davis, White Canyon Software: "Of the three computers, every one of them booted into windows without any problem. We were able to find personal information on them. On this computer we found bank information, bank account numbers. We found the person's name, address, phone numbers, everything we wanted."

Program Wipes Personal Information Off Computers

One of the old computers belonged to a Salt Lake family and contained the family budget and tax information. Another computer belonged a local company that went bankrupt.

Derek Davis: "About 200 names, addresses and social security numbers, just in a list that we were able to reconstruct."

Products like Wipe Drive over-write the data and eliminate everything so the computer's next user won't have your information.

Nathan Jones, Regional Sales Manager, White Canyon: "It's always a good idea to just wipe everything and give them a clean slate so they have a faster running computer and give you the peace of mind that there is nothing on there that they can retrieve."

The company says its clients include the US Military and intelligence services, as well as individuals and big corporations.

There are many commercial software programs like Wipe Drive in the $40 to $50 range that can completely erase your hard drive.

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