The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Business

September 22, 2013

How to properly clean up computers

NORMAN — I am sometimes asked to perform basic computer forensic analysis for customers who want to know if their computers have been used for “illicit” purposes. The results can be revealing, if not downright disturbing.

One customer, the owner of a popular hairdressing salon, needed to know if her employees had recently used a company computer to visit pornographic websites while she was out of the office. Another client, an attorney, wanted to know if a certain machine had been used to download pornography that could have possibly been viewed by children using this “family” computer.

The first job was relatively simple. Even though you can delete the temporary “cache” files of an Internet browser, a history of visited websites is still sometimes retained in a hard-to-remove “.dat” file. A little special processing and fiddling about, and, voila, I had a list of recently accessed websites. Indeed, many were porno websites.

The second job was a bit more difficult, as someone had tried to cover their tracks. There were no clues in any of the normal places. At the very least, someone had “deleted” files and then emptied the “recycle bin.” I was also told that the computers hard drive might have been reformatted in an attempt to “erase” files.

Again, after employing some special and unusual measures, I recovered thousands of hard-core porn pictures from what appeared on the surface to be a “clean” computer. Someone was in big trouble.

Keep privacy in mind before you sell or give away your old computer. A study done by students at MIT, examining 158 used hard drives purchased on eBay, found that 74 percent of the drives contained readable data, even though 36 percent of the drives had been reformatted.

Discovered were emails, medical records, financial data and 3,722 credit card numbers, not including one hard drive that came from an ATM that contained bank account numbers and 2,868 credit card numbers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Selling Norman is love at first sight

    Meeting planners who make a site visit to Norman tend to fall in love, convention and hospitality experts said this week. The staff of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau are commissioned with the job of promoting tourism and selling ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Green House is a homegrown business

    Nancy Muenzler was a banker in her previous life. That was before the Green House, 1708 SW 24th Street, became her passion....

    April 20, 2014

  • Conan’s martial arts moves downtown

    Conan’s Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing, Jujitsu, MMA Academy is celebrating the grand opening of a new facility right in the heart of downtown Norman at 310 E. Main St. Founded in 1996 by four-time World Kickboxing Champion Scott “Conan” ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Chamber welcomes new members

    The Norman Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all our sales volunteers and welcome our new Chamber members from our recent spring membership drive.  Suzanne McAuley was this year’s membership drive chair....

    April 20, 2014

  • It’s easier than ever to be your own movie producer

    Things have certainly come a long way since 1988, when the first stand-alone audio CD recorders outside of CD manufacturing plants started showing up. At that time, do-it-yourself CDs were the province of the rich and famous, as the ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Chamber Banquet During annual banquet, Chamber of Commerce promotes moving Norman forward

    Amidst the backdrop of music, dancing, dinner and fellowship, business leader Mike Fowler announced that the time for a quality-of-life initiative in Norman has come. As incoming Norman Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Fowler and ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women leaders announced

    The Norman Chamber announced the nominees for the 2014 Women’s Leadership Award, which honors female leaders who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.  Past recipients of this honor, formerly known as the ATHENA ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Norman use tax takes a hit while Moore sales tax flounders

    Norman use tax took a hit this month while Moore’s sales tax floundered for the first time since sales picked up in the post-tornado recovery period. For the city of Norman, however, sales tax collections are a bright spot on the revenue ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Nextep moves back to Dillard Building, but this time with much larger presence

    In 1997, entrepreneur Brian Fayak was just getting Nextep Inc., a professional employer service, started. Fayak had been working out of his sister’s house in west Norman and was delighted when the opportunity came to rent an executive ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spotlight

    Chiropractic award Megan Borne, a chiropractic assistant at Sparks Clinic of Chiropractic in Norman, was recently awarded the title of C.A. counselor with the Pinnacle Chiropractic Management Group. She will assist other chiropractic ...

    April 13, 2014