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Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Hard Drives & Identity Theft

Old hard drives should not be just pitched in the trash. Now for those of you who consider the hard drive the entire case (don’t deny it, many of you do); the hard drive is the area where your data is stored. It looks like the picture labeled hard drive with cover on. This is mounted in your computer case and is where the data is stored. The problem is when you get rid of your old computer, many people just give it away or trash it without removing their personal data. Deleting your personal data does not get rid of it. Any knowledgeable person (practically anyone under 25) can probably retrieve your data that you thought you deleted.

If you are going to give away or throw away your computer you should make sure your data is gone. You can do that by purchasing disk cleaning software such as Evidence Eliminator or CyberCide. You can down load software for free such as SureDeleteDriveWiper or KillDiskSuite. These software products normally will overwrite your data to the point that retrieval is impossible. The irony of this is the frequency with which data you want is lost and can not be retrieved even in a data recovery facility.

You can run a ¼” drill bit through the platters of the drive, that will kill any chances of retrieving data. Platters are illustrated in the photo of a drive with the cover removed. The platters also make great coffee cup coasters and deadly Frisbees. If you are truly creative and want to save your data forever you can do a motorcycle such as illustrated or a hard drive clock.

Whatever you decide to do, in an age of identity theft, please make sure your data is removed before you give up your old computer.

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