Ever wondered where some of those nasty celebrity scandals came from? To be honest there are a bunch of possibilities where it came from such as hacking and intentional leaking, but I will be talking about a specific one, Data Recovery. Selling and buying computer hardware this age is very easy, there are a bunch of stores and individuals who sells and buys them. But have you ever wondered, are you really safe selling your storage devices?
In this article, I will be talking about how to safely sell your devices that contains data, may it be a hard disk drive, flashdrive, memory card, or perhaps a mobile phone.
So you have this one important file in your Hard Disk, and deleted it. Is that file really gone? Let’s assume that you have emptied your Recycle Bin, is it gone by now? Well the answer is no. Your system simply forgets everything about the file and moves on, but the data, the pattern of 0s and 1s are still there. So what can we do about it? How can we securely delete our files and make sure that it stays deleted?
Above is an epicly drawn representation of how your data looks like. The circle thing is your Hard Disk, and the bunch of zeros and ones is your data in binary. The table is how your operating system remembers your data, it stores the file name and the location or address of your data in your storage drive. So when you delete something, the bunch of zeros and ones remains the same, what you deleted is the details in the table, therefor ‘forgetting’ it.
So going back to the question “How to securely delete your file”, to answer that . . . you can’t. As far as I know there is no way to delete a file in your hard disk as it doesn’t work that way. Hard disk drives simply write and re-write, what you can do is to (yeah you guessed it) re-write it with some random data (maybe a bunch of zeros).
If you are using a mac, there is an option to Secure Delete your files in the trash. What it does is the same thing, it writes some random trash data in the location of your file, thus making it “securely deleted”.
I won’t be making a very long article, the main point of this is to let you guys know that simply formatting your hard drive before selling it, doesn’t means that you have sold an empty drive. There are a bunch of free softwares you can use such as Disk Wipe to do this re-writing job for you.
I hoped this rushed article gave you a bit of an insight about how storage devices works. Be safe.