Thinking about taking your Computer to the Repair Shop?


Thread author
Staff Member
Malware Hunter
Jul 27, 2015
If you’ve ever worried about the privacy of your sensitive data when seeking a computer or phone repair, a new study suggests you have good reason. It found that privacy violations occurred at least 50 percent of the time, not surprisingly with female customers bearing the brunt.

Researchers at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, recovered logs from laptops after receiving overnight repairs from 12 commercial shops. The logs showed that technicians from six of the locations had accessed personal data and that two of those shops also copied data onto a personal device. Devices belonging to females were more likely to be snooped on, and that snooping tended to seek more sensitive data, including both sexually revealing and non-sexual pictures, documents, and financial information.
“We were blown away by the results,” Hassan Khan, one of the researchers, said in an interview. Especially concerning, he said, was the copying of data, which happened during repairs for one from a male customer and the other from a female. “We thought they would just look at [the data] at most.” The amount of snooping may actually have been higher than recorded in the study, which was conducted from October to December 2021. In all, the researchers took the laptops to 16 shops in the greater Ontario region. Logs on devices from two of those visits weren’t recoverable. Two of the repairs were performed on the spot and in the customer's presence, so the technician had no opportunity to surreptitiously view personal data.

In three cases, Windows Quick Access or Recently Accessed Files had been deleted in what the researchers suspect was an attempt by the snooping technician to cover their tracks. As noted earlier, two of the visits resulted in the logs the researchers relied on being unrecoverable. In one, the researcher explained they had installed antivirus software and performed a disk cleanup to “remove multiple viruses on the device.” The researchers received no explanation in the other case.


Level 6
May 5, 2015
I am an IT service provider, and in the city where I live, it often happens that some businesses scam their customers. Not long ago a client asked me to check out a piece of equipment that was brought to a technician in a plaza called "technology plaza." They changed the hard drive for a damaged one with a lower capacity, they changed the memory modules for ones with lower speed and capacity. And they still charged him...
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Level 12
Top Poster
Mar 9, 2014
Is it helpful to create a guest account and let repair people use that?

Zero Knowledge

Level 20
Top Poster
Content Creator
Dec 2, 2016
Is it helpful to create a guest account and let repair people use that?

If you must send into a repair shop for a hardware issue. Back up first. Wipe drive. Reinstall Windows with generic admin password.

That way your safe from any data being taken without your knowledge and your safe from credential stuffing attack on your main Windows account.

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