Our computers inevitably become archives for some of our most important personal and professional information. Important files are saved to hard drives. Passwords and even credit card information can be accessible if your device gets into the wrong hands. So when it comes to disposing of old computers, especially hard drive disposal or destruction, you want to make sure any information once held within is no longer accessible. This article discusses how to go about fully destroying an old computer so that your information is not at risk. Here is what you need to know in order to do the job right.
Deleting Files Is Not Enough
Deleting files doesn’t do what you think it does. It only hides them from view. A computer’s operating system has simply removed an entry from the filing system. Previous data can be easily undeleted using special forensic tools. If those files are of interest to hackers or other investigators, your information is easily retained.
Digital Disposal Methods
One way to ensure that your personal information is not easily accessed from a discarded computer is through “shredding” of the individual files on the hard drive. There are a variety of software programs that can shred individual files. This method is effective if you have very specific files that you want to delete. If you are committed to removing all files, similar programs are available which will wipe the disk clean and any and all files will no longer be retrievable.
The process of shredding your hard disk is in fact a technique that incorporates random characters into the hard disk making the data underneath unrecoverable. When wiping your files be using this technique you will need to make multiple passes in order to thoroughly shred your files. The more passes you use for shredding files, the more secure you are against data theft.
Deauthorize and Deactivate Accounts
It’s important to clear out important files such as tax documents, business files, and other files with sensitive information contained within. Accounts are also important to address before disposing of your old device. Some programs, including iTunes and Netflix, allow you to install and access software on a limited number of devices. So prior to disposing of your old device, be sure to deactivate it from your list of approved access points.
Similarly, if you have cookies enabled which allow websites requesting passwords to remember your credentials, it is also a good idea to clear your browsing history before getting rid of your old device. All popular web browsers provide this security feature within the settings option of the program.
Once your files and passwords are all cleared from the device, consider damaging the actual hard drive itself to ensure your private information stays private. You can do this by drilling holes in the hard drive itself, or even smashing it with a hammer. The physical damage doesn’t need to be much to do the job. But it will certainly help protect your files and digital information from prying eyes.
In general, the best course of action is to entrust your sensitive document destruction to a responsible document management service provider. Happy Faces Records Management is just the right solution for challenges like this. The security and convenience of partnering with a company like us help maintain security as a high priority. Call today to talk with a representative.
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