Why The Fuss About Clearing the Hard Drive?
Picture this: you recently sold off your old laptop or Macbook to an online sales platform like Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist. You are pleasantly happy with the sale, and the unit has been packaged and shipped to the new owner. Perhaps weeks later, you find yourself locked out of your social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Slightly concerned, you wonder why this is the case, but you decide to simply follow the procedures in reactivating your account. However, the request is declined, because your credentials, such as your email or phone number, on their records have been altered and no longer match.
Now you are really starting to get worried. That’s when you receive a call from your bank stating that you are over-drawn on your credit card! Wondering how things spiralled downward so fast, you remain clueless as to how your information was breached. It does not occur to you that your old unit that you sold off might have been compromised since you deleted all the files and performed a reformat or reset, as the case may be.
You might think this is far-fetched, but this can happen because with the proper skills and tools, YOUR DATA CAN BE RECOVERED EVEN AFTER A REFORMAT. And in the hands of sinister individuals, your personal data such as usernames, passwords, emails, bank account and credit card numbers… all of these can lead to massive fraud. This is why it is recommended to fully clear out your old system using a guaranteed data wipe tool like RedKey USB. But why is it different enough from deleting and reformats/resets? What is the difference?
Deleting is not a complete Removal
For most folks, deleting the file from your computer is sufficient. Even going so far as clearing the Recycle Bin (as in the case of the Windows OS) would be enough for many users unaware of the intricacies of how data is stored in hard drives.
Think of how there is often an option to restore a file (in Windows, this is usually accomplished by pressing CTRL+Z right after the deletion). This is in place to protect from accidental deletion, but it is also what can be exploited. The data actually remains on the drive until the space it once occupied is overwritten. Hard drives have partitions and blocks where the data is placed. Even when the space is partially overwritten, fragments can still exist that is more than enough to cause headaches and problems later on.
What Can I do to Permanently Clear the Hard Drive?
There are processes and tools available for completely clearing the data and files from hard drives before reformatting to enable the drive to boot up. However, the process is quite complicated for the non-techie crowd. Rather than spending time trying to figure out the process and then do trial and error to check if it was successful, a simpler approach like using RedKey USB’s data wipe tool is recommended. No complicated steps need to be remembered or jumping through hoops just to check if the data wipe worked. RedKey USB is designed to be a simple “plug and play” system. Insert the RedKey USB into an open USB port, boot up the unit, wait for the simple interface to display, choose the right option, and wait for the process to start and finish. THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT.
If you would like more useful information like the top 3 ways on how to secure your hard drive, or for more news and tips about data privacy, we recommend regularly checking the RedKey USB main site. And please do contact us for any inquiries and feedback. We would love to hear from you!