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Deleting Data from Old Devices is Not Enough - Here's How to Remove It Completely

Data is a collection of information that can range from random useless stuff to confidential material. It has great value, especially on the dark market, where criminals can misuse, sell, or exploit it.

If you’re planning to reuse, resell, or get rid of a hard drive, old computer, or smartphone, then regular file deletion will no longer cut it. While deleting a file is easy, removing the digital footprint that the file leaves is difficult. That is why you should consider data wiping as a preferred method of file destruction.

What is Data Wiping?

In short, data wiping is a practice of scraping all data from a respective medium. But proper data wiping is a bit more complicated than that.

When you store data, the hardware inside the drive encodes that data using binary code. That is a dependable solution designed to store data for more extended periods. But there is one downside. Since the system stores data in such a way, it always leaves a trail. Like everything else, someone with the necessary knowledge can exploit that trail.

What does it mean for you? Even if you delete all data from a drive, hackers can extract it thanks to those trails. So, actual data wiping shouldn’t only remove all the data, but it should also remove the trail that was left behind.

Different Types of Data Wiping

There are a couple of different types of data wiping to choose from. The most common method of destroying data is overwriting:

  1. single-pass erase
  2. three-pass erase
  3. seven-pass erase
  4. secure erase

As mentioned before, even deleted data leaves a trail. But if you overwrite that trail with random data, there’s nothing to worry about.

A single-pass erase yields excellent results. But if the removed data is precious, it would be a better option to use a multi-pass overwrite.

Then, there is data erasure. It is another form of overwriting. It destroys all data on a hard drive, and it delivers a certificate of destruction that confirms removing all data successfully. It is an excellent choice for businesses that purchased off-lease computer equipment. Or anyone who would like to reuse their hard drives multiple times, for that matter.

If you want to ensure that no one can exploit your data, then degaussing might be a good fit. Degaussing is a use of a high-powered magnet to destroy the storage medium. It is swift and effective, but it comes with an obvious disadvantage. If you degauss an item, it will become inoperable and unusable.

If everything else fails, you can always turn to shredding. Shredding is a method of physically destroying hard drives by shredding them to 2-millimeter pieces. It would render the item unusable, unexploitable, and undetectable.

Why You Should Consider Data Wiping

It is time-consuming and difficult to recover deleted data. But by using correct software and methods, hackers can retrieve it and misuse it. Because of that, data wiping and physical destruction are the only fool-proof solutions for keeping your data intact.

Data wiping is a great way to ensure data protection in case someone wants to reuse, sell, or lend their equipment. Not only that, but it is usually quick and cost-effective. Though businesses should hire a professional service to do the wiping for them. They have to follow specific standards and provide you with a certificate of sanitization.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to old devices, data wiping is the only way of making sure that no one can exploit your personal or company files. But don’t forget to also secure data on the devices that you currently use. For that, using encryption software is a good idea.

There are many excellent file encryption solutions on the market, such as NordLocker. You can download NordLocker for Mac or Windows to encrypt any files before you share them or upload them to the cloud. As long as you don’t store the encryption key on your hard drive, encrypting data can be as sufficient as physical destruction.

By implementing more than one security measure, you will ensure that your data is safe and useless to hackers.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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