Auditor: personal data left on 9% of donated computers

OLYMPIA, Wash. (KOIN) — It doesn’t take the Heartbleed virus to have your private information accessed without you knowing it.

The Washington State Auditor’s office found confidential information on computers previously owned by state agencies was not erased, even after they were donated to surplus warehouses for public sale.

Nine percent of the computers in line to be donated still had confidential information, such as Social Security numbers, medical information, and IT security information on their hard drives.

The auditor is calling on the Office of the Chief Information Officer to to improve its policies and oversight to ensure state agencies properly dispose of data before getting rid of old computers.

The auditor recommends all agencies thinking about donating computers to surplus warehouses — which is encouraged — put safeguards in place to make sure all data has been removed from the hard drives.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer responded to the findings of the audit by improving data removal policies, the auditor’s office said in a statement.

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