Thinking about getting rid of a computer can actually be a lot more complicated that initially thought. Many people remember to get their files off and delete any important information from the drive and think that’s the end of it. It’s not just individuals, companies can also fall into this trap. Just selecting delete does not mean that the files are gone forever and could be recovered.
When you actually delete a file from the computer, it generally spends time in a trash bin, and when that’s empty you think it’s gone. It’s actually just hidden from the computer, and part or most of the file may still be hidden waiting for someone to come along and recover it. Some people think that even reformatting their hard drive may delete their files, but the information is still buried somewhere on the drive. Unless those areas of the disk are effectively overwritten with new content, it is still possible that knowledgeable attackers may be able to access the information.
There have been some stories that have popped up in the media recently about hard drives in copiers that were returned to the leasing company with medical, judicial and personal information stored on the drives, and then those drives sold to other companies in other countries. This happened enough to be noticed by a reporter, and you can imagine it happens more than people realize.
With technology becoming more and more prevalent and at the same time becoming more and more disposable leads to real security problems for people and companies. Take a moment to think about all the computers and cell phones you’ve had in your life or the life of the business and think how many of those were properly disposed of in a manner that eliminates your data.
If you or your business is looking towards getting rid of a computer, make sure that you find some software out there that writes over the drive several times. There are many different software choices out there, and a recommend you find something that fits your budget and is comfortable to use. Now depending on the size of the drive, once you find the software it will take a while to run, as it writes and rewrites data to the drive.