For some time now I have been making sure that all hard drives are removed from machines being taken to the local tip (not sure what you would call in in the USA but maybe community recycling point?). The story has been that any machine dropped off there for recycling is stripped of components instead of what is supposed to happen which is that it is refurbished before being sent off to countries where even the old stuff is useful. These components are either sold to metal recovery experts (there's gold in them thar bits) or in the case of hard drives, shipped off to places in West Africe where the contents are checked for any useful data such as bank account details, passwords and so on. Having worked there I can believe it. Today I heard from a new client who was wondering how someone had succeeded in hacking into an old bank account and was using it for money laundering. After some discussion I found out that he had thrown an old laptop away and had taken the trouble to deliver this to the local tip for recycling, and we came to the conclusion that this was the most likely leak - unproven but because it was an old account the most likely. Interestingly, the 'new' user of the account had not changed any of the details so the 'proper' owner of the account was able to close it after changing the password and telling the bank what had happened. Someone somewhere is going to be very angry - not telling how much was in there when the lid slammed down but it was nearly into 5 figures. Moral - take your hard drives out and keep them in the attic!