They believe that change is the rule of nature, and that in order to exist, we must constantly adapt to the new. Technology follows the same reasoning. Every day, new devices and electronic media are released with improved features and functions. As a result, we, as users, constantly switch from old to new gadgets. However, most of us take precautions to protect personal information held on an old electronic device before upgrading to a new one.
Why is it that removing and formatting are ineffective?
For the vast majority of users, removing files or formatting media appears to be the most effective method of erasing all vital data. What we don’t realise is that the data might still be found on the media after we erase or format it. A delete command merely removes file references, making it impossible for the operating system to locate the data. That is why you are unable to see it. However, the data remains on the device until it is overwritten by new data. Consider ripping the Table of Contents off a book; you won’t be able to find a chapter, but the book will still include all of the chapters.
Data recovery software takes use of this. They look for data that may still be on the disc and provide ways to recover it. If you haven’t been absolutely sure that you’ve wiped the device clean, anyone with bad intentions can get their hands on your personal files using any commercially available data recovery programme. Are you still persuaded that you’ve done enough to secure your personal or other sensitive information on your outdated electronic gadgets along those lines?
If not, the following part explains how to fully wipe your device of all data in a simple and fast manner.
Data Erasure Techniques That Work
Even severely damaged hard drives or media may contain sensitive information that can be retrieved. As a result, you must totally erase your data before discarding the device to ensure that it does not get into the wrong hands.
1. Destruction of the gadget on a physical level
This is the simplest way to ensure that the gadget can’t be used to extract sensitive information. Breaking the gadget apart or shredding it into little bits using machines or mechanical shredders are examples of physical destruction. There is no way to retrieve data from a device that has been physically destroyed. Drilling holes into hard drives, for example, can cause the drive to be physically destroyed. You should be aware, however, that physically destroying the device does not indicate that the data on it is erased. It indicates you’re permanently rendering the gadget useless. As a result, this might be considered a drawback of the strategy. Disintegration, combustion, pulverisation, shredding, melting, sanding, and chemical treatment are various methods that can be employed to physically degrade electronic media.
Here are the benefits and drawbacks of this strategy to help you make an informed decision:
- This is the easiest and most effective approach to ensure that data on the device cannot be exploited if done correctly.
- You may use this approach to delete a big amount of data (all of the info on the device) all at once.
- Any type of media can be utilised with this procedure.
- The medium is rendered worthless as a result of this procedure. Finding a technique to delete only the data and reuse the device would be preferable.
- You won’t be able to resale hard drives or other material if they’ve been physically damaged. As a result, it’s a setback for resale value.
- Physically destroying media takes time, and the debris that is ejected during the process might be hazardous to one’s health.
- This procedure is frequently outsourced, putting data security at risk.
2. Degaussing or magnetic destruction
Degaussing is the process of deleting all magnetically recorded data from media utilising equipment that apply a reverse magnetic field. This approach erases all material on the magnetic medium by restoring the magnetic flux to zero. It’s worth noting that different magnetic mediums necessitate varying magnetic field strengths. As a result, if the degaussing machine’s electromagnetic field isn’t powerful enough for a particular media type, the procedure may be incomplete. Furthermore, unlike in the past, when a strong electromagnetic field was not necessary for degaussing, current hard drives have thicker shielding, necessitating greater fields.
Degaussing, like physical destruction, has a number of drawbacks, including high prices, unreliability, permanent media damage, no guarantee of data deletion, and more. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of this method:
- Effective enough to wipe all data from magnetic media, particularly if the material demands a low electromagnetic field.
- It takes less time to complete this process.
- It may be applied to a wide range of media.
- Because degaussing devices may be used again, they typically do not require additional investment once purchased.
- There’s no assurance that a single degaussing machine will generate a strong enough field to erase data on various types of media.
- Makes media inaccessible indefinitely
- The machine itself is rather costly.
- Only magnetic media may be utilised with this approach.
- Degaussing does not give the necessary reporting of the erasing process for regulatory compliance.
3. Overwriting Software
This procedure entails overwriting existing data with patterns of useless data (random combinations of 1s and 0s) using specific software. This writing is repeated two or three times on each sector of the hard disc to guarantee that any and all existing data is completely wiped and unrecoverable. The higher the degree of protection, the more data gets rewritten.
Even though it is more dependable than the other methods, software overwriting is not without flaws. Here are the benefits and drawbacks:
- A simple and effective method of permanently erasing data so that media can be reused.
- Can be done in-house, reducing the danger of data theft at the service centre.
- Overwriting software normally generates thorough details on the procedure.
- If the media is damaged, this procedure will not work.
- Tools accessible for this purpose that are freeware or shareware may appear to provide a lot, but they are merely another hazard to data.
4. A secure data wiping software
Not every data wiping software on the market provides secure service. Some of these tools are unable to access sections of the hard disc that are concealed or encrypted, such as Host Protected Areas (HPAs), remapped sectors, and so on. As a result, such technologies conduct an incomplete data erasure, keeping some data intact. To accomplish comprehensive data erasure, a tool that can access all sections of the hard disc and bypass BIOS and OS would be ideal.
BitRaser, a data erasure programme, is a suggested product that meets these requirements. This robust data erasure programme overcomes the restrictions of existing data erasure approaches and delivers complete data erasure for hard discs up to 32 that boot via USB. BitRaser File Eraser is a secure file eraser programme that also erases system and application traces, internet activity, and idle hard drive space for those who are concerned about their confidential files and folders and want to wipe hard drive data and folders. You can use the wipe procedure developed by the US Department of Defense to remove them (3 pass or 7 pass).
As a result, before you dispose of your old gadgets, make sure your electronic media is completely data-free. Using reliable and capable software like BitRaser ensures that none of your sensitive information falls into the wrong hands.