How to Completely Wipe A Hard Drive And Prevent Data Breach

Data security and privacy are the two factors that we must consider while planning to dispose of the old Hard Drive or replacing it with a new one. An unsecure disposal may lead to unauthorized access and use of your private and confidential data.

Facts and Importance of Data Erasure

As per the surveys by The Harris Poll, the number of identity theft cases in America had increased to 60 million in 2018 from 15 million in 2017.

Although a majority of the identity thefts are attributed to online attacks, a significant number of these come from data theft from your hard disk and other storage media.

These facts indicate that individuals and organizations need to be more vigilant towards handling data, especially when disposing of their storage devices or the devices that contain storage media such as, desktops, computers, smartphones, etc.

Before disposing of, you must consider the fact that it’s not only the files that you created or downloaded are saved, the applications also store sensitive data on your computer. For example, the web browser stores data related to your internet activities—saved passwords, cookies, and other internet activities—on the storage media.

Anyone who gets access to this storage media, gets hold of your data, even if you’ve deleted it or formatted the entire hard disk. There is data recovery software that can easily recover the deleted data, which could put you at risk of the data breach and misuse. Hence, wiping the Hard Drive is a must to prevent recovery of your private and confidential data. 

Wiping the hard drive becomes more important if you run a business and are planning to dispose of the hard drive(s). Doing this prevents unauthorized usage of your business secrets, access to financial accounts, and so on.

Governments across the globe are now much focused on data privacy and require businesses to comply with data protection laws. Businesses failing to do so have to pay a hefty fine, and the brand reputation and trust is affected. Wiping the Hard Drive ensures the destruction of your stakeholder’s data in an eco-friendly manner and prevents their data from being exposed to theft, keeping you away from all that mess.

How to Securely Wipe a Hard Drive?

As already discussed, if you want to destroy your data, deletion or formatting are not the options. By deleting or formatting the storage media, you only remove the path to the stored files, not the actual data. The deleted data can easily be recovered by using data recovery software.

Another way that you may think of to destroy your data is to physically destroy your Hard Drive or storage media by hammering, degaussing, shredding, etc. But with this, you wouldn’t be able to resell or reuse it. Moreover, this isn’t an eco-friendly approach as this adds to toxic e-waste, carbon footprint, Particulate Matter (PM), which deteriorates our environment.

So the best way to wipe data is to use secure data eraser software such as BitRaser®, which erases every single byte of data on the drive including the unused space. This software implements International data erasure standards such as, NIST, US DOD 5220.22-M (7 passes), etc. to overwrite data with random binary values.

BitRaser® is a secure data erasure software that erases your data stored on Hard Drives and SSDs used in Desktops, Laptops, and Servers. It gives you the option to choose any of the 22 International data sanitization (secure-erasure) standards to wipe your Hard Drive completely in an eco-friendly manner. Also, you can define additional custom sanitization algorithm (Up to 5 custom sanitization algorithms can be defined) to wipe your Hard Drive.

The software, after wiping the drive, yields a tamper-resistant audit-trail or data erasure report, and certificate of erasure that guarantees 100% data destruction beyond recovery. This ensures that the erased data can never be recovered using any data recovery software, services, or any forensic tool. You can refer the samples of Data Erasure Report and the Certificate of Erasure, shown below.

BitRaser Report

Certificate of Erasure

This digitally signed certificate can be used as a proof of secured data destruction to comply with the data security laws such as GDPR, or for audit purposes.

Conclusion

Mere deletion or formatting doesn’t destroy your data—business, private, sensitive, or confidential. Always use data wiping software such as BitRaser® to wipe your HDD before disposing of. This prevents a data breach, identity theft, and ensures data privacy. Also, this is of great importance to businesses, as maintaining data privacy avoids the risk of heavy fines, loss of reputation and trust.

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