When you dispose of, donate, or recycle an electronic device, you may disclose sensitive information which could be exploited by cyber criminals.
There are a few ways to effectively remove all data from your devices. The method will depend on the type of device (ex. laptop, cellphone, digital camera).
Keep in mind that simply deleting files from your computer doesn’t actually remove them from the device. Even if you empty the trash, the deleted files are still on the computer and can be accessed.
How do I remove all data from my computer?
To permanently delete data from your computer, you can use a disk cleaning software specifically designed to erase data.
Another method to permanently remove data is overwriting. Overwriting deletes sensitive data and writes new binary data over it.
The last method is physical destruction. Note: While fun, hitting your computer a few times with a baseball bat is insufficient. There are services that will disintegrate, burn, or melt your computer drive. If you choose not to use a service, you need to remove the hard drive and destroy it. Don’t try to use a magnet, don’t scratch it or just crack it in half. Smash or shred it into as many pieces as possible, or for best results, drill holes into it.
Check out this interesting article about extracting data in criminal cases and where most criminals go wrong. (Obviously, we’re not condoning you destroy evidence. Only wipe old electronics to protect your personal information, not cover up a crime!!)
What about my phone?
Before disposing of a smartphone or tablet, be sure to remove all data by performing a hard reset, also known as a factory reset. This is done differently depending on the device but is usually done through the settings. On an iPhone you go to Settings >> General >> Reset >> Erase all content and settings >> Erase iPhone. Also, if your device has a memory card, physically remove it.
Where can I dispose of my devices?
After wiping your devices, you may choose to donate, discard, or recycle them. To find out where you can recycle electronics in your area, visit: http://www.ecyclingcentral.com/. To find out where you can dispose of electronics in your area, visit: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling.
Wake County residents and businesses are lucky enough to have several special Wake County Recycling Facilities that accept old electronics.
Of course, if you need help wiping your devices or disposing of them, we’re always happy to help.
Call us today to schedule a FREE Cyber Security Assessment. We provide managed IT services for small to medium businesses in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Apex, Clayton, Wake Forest, Chapel Hill, Holly Springs, and surrounding areas. Call today: 919-276-0282.