Everyone’s data is at risk. Data comes in a variety of classifications of importance, from government-classified to company proprietary to personal identity information (PII). This information is stored on a variety of media formats including hard drives (HDD), solid state drives (SSD), thumb drives, backup tape, CDs, DVDs, portable drives and paper. There are a number of methods used to obtain this data; from dumpster diving, theft, to laboratory reconstruction.
According to the FBI, developing countries do not have the funds to put into research and development, so instead they steal information and technology. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission estimates that identity theft costs $50 billion a year. There have been many instances where patient information, employee information, and credit card information has been compromised by companies failing to protect their data.
In addition, companies offering to recycle hard drives may simply be shipping them off to countries that are listed by the State Department as top sources of Cyber Crime. Whether we like it or not, there are people with incentives to get the information and plenty of opportunities. Therefore, there are a variety of regulations in place to assist in the protection of your data.