How Best Buy’s computer-wiping error turned me into an amateur blackhat

We put a lot of trust in big companies, so when they let us down it can have serious consequences.

I recently went shopping for a new computer. I wanted a low-end laptop for light work and the HP Stream seemed like a good deal. That deal was made even sweeter when Best Buy offered to sell me a returned one for almost 20 percent off. The salesman assured me that it was in like-new condition and that they would honor all warranties. Sold.

I always get a little thrill opening a new gadget. The computer looked like it had never been touched and all the paperwork was still in sealed bags. There was even a slip of paper in the box with the ID of the tech who cleaned and certified the unit.

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