Your notebook is getting old and you are going to earn some money to get the new powerful, shiny model, selling your old laptop on ebay.
On the other part of the World, a rich lucky guy with the new powerful, shiny model needs to perform some core fucking operations and so decides to get a used laptop on ebay to avoid any risks on his jewel.
So, the scenario is simple: the seller doesn’t know anything about the buyer and viceversa.
When you sell your notebook think as you are going to sell your gun to an unknown. Who is it? A kid? A worker? A paedophile? A malicious Hacker? A terrorist? Or maybe the next Snowden, hunted by secret services worldwide?
On your computer you leave many traces, so it’s better to clean some of them in order to avoid to get in serious troubles. When you buy an used laptop the problem is the same, so it’s better to follow these rules too.
- Do not sell the hard drive!
Take the hard disk with you. It contains all of your data and it’s good to not lose them. Instead buy a new drive and charge the price, specifying that the hard disk is new and reliable.
If you can’t unmount your mass memory, wipe it the strongest way. Use apposite tools to do that. Even a GNU/Linux live distro where run simple bash commands could accomplish this important task. Wipe the RAM too, like TAILS linux distro does every reboot.
This step is important due to avoid the possibility that, if the buyer is a malicious hacker, he could perform forensic operations to retrieve deleted files, including your private data. Doing the format and OS reinstallation is quite useless! You have to hard wipe the disk.
- If you are a Microsoft or Apple user and you have registered your ID to the Company servers, is probable that the computer is logged and you are logged as the owner. In case of serial number is better to erase it, destroying the stickers with the SN and also changing the disk with a new one. Do not sell the disk with the OS and the DVDs with the OS backup in this case but sell the PC as no-operating-system or install a GNU/Linux on it.
If your registration on Microsoft/Apple/Other_Companies includes the registration of the hardware IDs… maybe is the case to not sell the computer: because if someone will perform with your ex-laptop some system penetration and leaves an hardware trace like a MAC address, maybe it’s possible to rise back to your computer Serial Number and so your name. Evaluate this point, especially when you sell your tablet or smarphone.
- Make photos on many particulars of the PC.
- Wear gloves from now on.
- Your DNA is everywhere in the hardware, you can’t do nothing about this but you have to delete all of your fingerprints. If the materials of your laptop are not damaged by alcohol, pass a canvas wet with alcohol on the keyboard and on all the surfaces of the computer. Clean it very well and clean all the accessories.
This step is really important. Imagine that you sell the computer to an unknown that in reality will use it to perform pedopornography or illegal acts. What’s happen when your fingerprints will be found on the computers?
- If you are able to do so, open completely the laptop and clean it inside, try to use air to clean the inside from hairs, skin particles and every organic element you can reach.
Make photos inside and log hardware serial numbers.
- Also take photos of the receipt of payments when you bought the computer, and also the manuals, the box and everything that can prove that you where the owner of the computer and you sold it to someone in that date, over the network.
Definitely you have to leave few traces as possible on the computer and also you have to be able to prove that, starting from a certain date, you are no more the owner and user of the laptop, nor responsible of the acts performed by the new owner.
Remember that you don’t know who is the buyer and what life he conducts.