While the cost of a new computer or laptop continues to fall, we truly are almost in an age when these former room-sized giants are now disposable. When last year’s speed-demon is today’s dinosaur, and the cost and hassle of upgrading and updating is on par with simply buying new, what happens to your beloved old digital friend?
This is Part 5 of a set of articles in our series on Data Safety
While many communities and organizations have increased their commitment to proper recycling of old hardware and their hazardous chemicals, what happens to your data once the system is out of your hands? Simply hitting the “delete” key is not a sufficient safeguard to protect any personal or confidential business information. There is a lot of un-secured data on discarded media and hard drives that could potentially be used for criminal activity or identity theft.
It is hard to determine or control where your old computer hardware and media ends up after it’s been discarded. It may pass through the hands of a number of people and vendors on its way to being destroyed, recycled, resold, or refurbished. If you pay attention to the news (or read Platter Chatter regularly), you’ll often hear stories of personal data being retrieved from hard drives sold on eBay, or banking data recovered from inventory sell-off machines. The data sitting in a warehouse loading dock or random dumpster is ripe for the picking.
Protecting yourself against this kind of data invasion is usually pretty easy, but not many of us take the time to invest in our own protection. If you’re interested in your data’s security, take the time to download a free copy of CBL’s Data Shredder software. Once downloaded, you can burn the software to a CD-ROM and boot your old computer one last time. Follow the simple on-screen instructions to completely erase the drive inside to Department of Defense strength levels.
Now you can relax, knowing your sensitive information won’t fall into the wrong hands and your discarded data is safe from nefarious behaviour.
Read previous posts on data shredding and the risks of e-waste.
Category: helpful hints