Forwarded by: William Knowles <wkat_private> http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/12612.html Jay Lyman August 08, 2001 Following rumors of sensitive data remaining on the hard drives of auctioned company computers, Internet consultant Viant Corp. is investigating whether confidential client or cororate information was placed at risk. Word of the ex-corporate computers that still contained company information first came to the Web site F***edcompany.com, according to site founder Phil Kaplan, who told NewsFactor Network that the anonymous tips came from "some people who had their laptops auctioned and from people who bought laptops." Kaplan said his site was also informed of a similar situation with now-defunct MarchFirst, an interactive consulting agency that fell victim to the dot-com implosion and was forced to sell off assets earlier this year. To the Bottom Of It A spokeswoman for Boston-based Viant said the company outsourced the sale of fewer than 100 computers to auctioneer Dovebid when Viant closed a San Francisco office in the spring of this year. "They are under contract to wipe or clean the hard drives so there are no remaining files," Viant's Connie Bienfait told NewsFactor. "We are looking into any chance that wasn't done completely. We believe it [was], but we are taking this very seriously." Viant, whose corporate clients include Lucent, Compaq and Kinko's, is working with Dovebid to find out if any client materials have been compromised, Bienfait said. "We would only be concerned if there were files that were able to be entered," she said, adding most files would be protected by passwords and hard to access. Situation Unclear Dovebid spokeswoman Lisa Hawes told NewsFactor that the source of the breached data rumors made the issue unclear. "You never know how much of that is true and how much isn't," she said. Still, the auction company is working with Viant to investigate the matter, according to Hawes, who likened the computer data to something left in the drawer of an auctioned desk. "They're indemnified," she said of Forest City, California-based Dovebid. "They don't actually purchase the items from the customer. They're just the intermediary." Erasure Priority The erasure of confidential, sensitive or potentially embarrassing information on an old computer hard drive is one of the main concerns of companies that auction equipment, according to TechSmart vice president of product sales Tom Sager, whose Long Island, New York-based company is involved in asset value recovery for IT equipment. "For people who are retiring equipment, that's usually one of the top two or three hot buttons in getting it done right," Sager told NewsFactor. "This is pretty high on the list." While he called full erasure of data standard operating procedure, Sager said the fast demise of some companies and less scrupulous practices -- employee sales or equipment movement -- can lead to compromised data. Can't Keep Track Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) legislative counsel Chris Hoofnagle told NewsFactor the issue highlights weak privacy protection in the U.S. "The problem here is most of the practices -- because of weak legislation -- allow the transfer of data without authorization or auditing," he said, adding most transactions are not brought into public light. Hoofnagle said that while EPIC does not believe corporations have a right to privacy, the employees of the companies involved may have personal information included in the data on computers for sale. *==============================================================* "Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC ================================================================ C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org *==============================================================* - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Aug 09 2001 - 06:36:24 PDT