An Australian Longitudinal Study Into Remnant Data Recovered From Second-Hand Memory Cards

Patryk Szewczyk, Krishnun Sansurooah, Patricia A. H. Williams

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
    35 Downloads (Pure)


    Consumers demand fast, high capacity, upgradeable memory cards for portable electronic devices, with secure digital (SD) and microSD the most popular. Despite this demand, secure erasure of data is still not a composite part of disposure practices. To investigate the extent of this problem, secondhand memory cards were procured from the Australian eBay site between 2011 and 2015. Digital forensic tools were used to acquire and analyze each memory card to determine the type and quantity of remnant data. This paper presents the results of the 2014 and 2015 studies and compares these findings to the 2011-2013 research studies. The longitudinal comparison indicates resold memory cards are disposed insecurely, with personal, confidential and business data undeleted or easily recoverable. The impact of such discoveries, where information is placed in the public domain, has the potential to cause embarrassment and financial loss to individuals, business, and government organizations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6
    Pages (from-to)82-97
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Information Security and Privacy (IJISP)
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Bibliographical note

    This article published as an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and production in any medium, provided the author of the original work and original publication source are properly credited.


    • Computer Forensics
    • Data disposal
    • Data recovery
    • Memory card forensics
    • Privacy
    • Remnant data
    • Computer forensics


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