The modern world is moving rapidly. Each two or even every year people purchase new smartphones. We receive new computers, purchase flash drives and typically have fun with technology. We just throw the old things out and repair it when our machine breaks down. A depository of old computer equipment waiting (hopefully) for recycling is open.
The fact is that unless you have done things in the right way, a whole lot of your personal information still has a good chance on all the gadgets you throw away. Yeah, you have deleted things. Someone who has the techniques knows how to get your photos, documents, private mails and more. Take myself as an example, I bought used appliances filled with things that actually belonged to their previous users.
What is the reason for this situation?
So naturally, you know why people can still access your data after seeing your content left if you don’t delete your details. But why are people able to get deleted information back?
Understanding how file systems work is the key to this question. The physical media simply displays files. There is also an index feature to monitor which files are saved on the disk. The actual data is not lost when you uninstall a file on the disk. The index is instead adjusted so that the available space is labelled. If the machine has to write in this space, the data there will be overwritten, and at least partially lost. You will restore what is there if the data has not been overwritten.
For SSDs following the TRIM instruction, this is not valid. In fact, for performance related reasons, they actually delete data permanently, but there are still cases in which you would like to make sure everything goes, which I will explain below.
What should you do regarding this situation?
Nearly definitely the data on a disk can be totally eliminated if you know how. Two strategies are now being investigated for the two major drive systems in the wild. Solid-state motors as well as rotating platter. Do not throw any of your drives until you have cleared all your data.
To delete data on a magnetic drive
The best way to ensure that the data that is not erased will not be retrieved from a drive is to replace all of them with nulls.
You need to have a piece of software in order to accomplish this. Many people use the US Defense Department drive wiping standard for this purpose.
Boot and Nuke (DBAN) from Darik’s is highly advisable. It is attached to a disk or flash drive and can be booted directly without a host operating system. It makes it perfect to gift or sell an old computer.
Just warn that it takes a lot of time to wipe such a detailed and total drive. The bigger the drive is, the longer it will take. So be sure to do it beforehand.
To delete data on an SSD
SSDs work with entire different methods with hard drives. They use non-volatile memory chips to store data, and more and more people use them due to their decreasing prices.
Although SSDs are far more durable and resistant than hard drives, they can be impacted by destructive writings. What that means is that the drive wears out these memory modules when it writes data to a certain sector. After a variety of writings, this portion of the trip can no longer be written to and finishes.
Traditional SSDs have different drive life extension hardware methods. The usage level is a common feature where the SSD controller ensures that no specific drive spots are written on average to more than others.
Disk wiping program is not working properly with SSDs, because of this hardware level control overwriting location.
But, thanks to the TRIM, it is not too much of a concern. TRIM should be supported by all modern SSDs and operating systems. The order shows the SSD what portions of its stored data are wastes. Then the drive will delete these areas silently correctly. This does not happen out of privacy concerns, it is because an SSD takes more time to uninstall and then to write to a sector than just to write to a white drive sector. Thus TRIM helps to speed up the drive speed by waste collection.
You should use disk encryption if you want to see if the drive is completely unrecoverable. You will encrypt and configure the whole SSD if you have an operating system (like Windows 10) with disk encryption. If not, you can use tools from a third party like CipherShed. If the data is retrieved by some miracle, it is still encrypted.
To destruct physical drives
You still need to ensure the data is permanently destroyed when the old disk is replaced. Even from non-functional hard disk drives, specialized data recovery software can be used. It’s not quite possible, but it’s just common sense, if your name is Mr. Snowden.
So how are you going to do that? Open the hard drive case for mechanical drives, delete the arms read / write, and detach the round, glossy disks. It can only have one.
Smash such plates gently with a hammer or other suitable tool into small pieces. You can have the dish sections in assorted bags or places if you feel particularly suspicious. This is one way, even if more ways are needed to break a hard drive.
What about SSDs? Drilling or hammering an SSD isn’t going to be very comprehensive since these drives are more mechanically durable.
There is a special machine called an SSD shredder, which is much too pricey for Joes to own. There may be a disposal facility close to you, however, which allows you to chock into the machines’ maw. Nevertheless, SSDs are less likely to stop operating entirely, so that you can typically do the aforementioned form of encryption.
Most people no longer use a conventional computer as both tablets and smartphones are currently easy to obtain and convenient to use. Whereas, when you use these devices, you will need to take extra care of these apps, which normally hold some truly personal information but are easy to be lost at the same time.
Naturally, if your computer supports it, you can encrypt its content. Everything will almost definitely never break, even if the contents are poured into the external network. Make sure the system is removed after too many incorrect release attempts.
It is common sense to suggest you must do a factory reset before you sell or throw away a phone or tablet. You may need to know, though, that it doesn’t always scrub everything out to prevent the risk of being retrieved.
You need to be sure to clear your data on an Android device by:
??Remove factory reset security setting for Android 5.0 and up devices
??Delete Google accounts
??Delete vendor accounts like your Samsung account, if there is any
The elimination of those accounts would disable smartphone monitoring and clean apps that you no longer want to keep for a device you will not use any more.
Encrypting and conducting the “factory reset” function should be appropriately done after removing the manual password, but you can use wipe applications to better bypass the files on your computer in the Google Play Store.
Apple has indeed done a pretty good job here when it comes to iOS. Hardware-level encryption has existed since iOS 5. You are perfect with regards to data protection when you set a passcode. If you reboot a plant, the key will be eliminated and nobody gets the information.
Before a reset is done to your iOS smartphone:
??Shut down the “find my iphone” function
??Make sure that you have logged out of all your accounts on the device
Then your data can be perfectly eliminated!
Everybody seems to be afraid that big businesses such as Facebook can catch and distribute our user details, but not too many people consider much about the risk of selling an old laptop to an unbelievably vulnerable pawn shop with records. This is somewhat like people who do not use credit cards online, but never think too much while handling a credit card to a waiter who can easily copy the information. I hope to change this mindset.
It is important to consider carefully where the information is stored. Protect computers such as flash drives or external hard drives by encrypting the password. Using mobile device passcodes to allow kill switches or remote wipes. Do proper data management cleanings before you get rid of it and you are going to sleep much better at night, realizing that the internet is not the end of your uncomfortable images.
Of course you can also take one more step to add an extra layer of security to your data by using a VPN service. You may know that a VPN service can help you to unblock websites, but it is not limited to this function. It can also help encrypt your data, hide your IP address and thereby secure your personal information on the Internet.