Is It Possible to Completely Wipe a Hard Drive?
“Wiping” a hard drive is not as simple as deleting all the files. If you just delete the files before the disposal of an old computer, you leave your data accessible to cybercriminals. After all, it is a surprisingly simple task to retrieve deleted files. So what is the safest way to protect your confidential data when disposing of old computers and hard drives?
When you delete computer files, your computer allows that section of the hard drive to be overwritten with new data. But it would be impractical to try to erase or overwrite every section of your computer’s hard drive. It is also a risky process because it is not foolproof.
Degaussing a Hard Drive
Degaussing involves erasing the hard drive data by using a demagnetizing process. A degaussing machine will destroy data. This process will remove the electronic encoding from the drive. Once complete, it can no longer be used for data storage. That is a more reliable process than simply deleting the files. It is also easier to do a complete job than trying to overwrite the entire hard drive.
Shredding a Hard Drive
Yes, hard drives can be shredded. Putting a hard drive through a specially designed shredder is another suitable method to avoid data theft. Shredders reduce hard drives into a pile of small pieces, so retrieving the data would be a complicated process.
Destroy Your Data the Professional Way
If you want to be safe, follow the same processes that the government uses. Never depend upon one destruction process. Combine the processes to make sure that your data is irretrievable by cyber thieves. Of course, be sure to create a backup of the information on a flash drive, DVD, or external drive before destruction, if needed.
First, erase the data on your hard drive. A professional degaussing machine is the best and easiest way to accomplish this part of the process.
Second, shred the hard drive. Always make sure the company you hire has a legitimate shredder for this process. It is not good enough to simply bend the hard drive or smash it.
Finally, you should make sure to have proper documentation of the destruction. Documenting the hard drive serial number and receiving proper certification of the destruction should be part of the process.
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