When deciding to buy a new computer, people are most likely to sell the old one and take it to the second-hand market. Most users use an external storage system to save the files they want to keep, and later, they “delete” those files stored on the hard drive. Yet, the problem is that not all of them know how to properly delete files from the hard drive or SD card, which means that they don’t delete those completely, and any buyer can recover all the information in the used storage system. Read what the dangers are and how to avoid them!
Problems of selling used storage system
According to a study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, consumers must take great care when selling a storage system. The researchers evaluated around 200 USB sticks from the United States and the United Kingdom to gather the data. According to the investigation, the results indicate that the former owners did not properly delete the information, and they were placed for sale on eBay.
These showed that all user data was available “…from nude photos to ID scans, job applications, pay stubs, tax returns, medical documentation, business documents, and much more.” In other words, there was private, intimate, and confidential information in the devices or storage systems that were sold.
Follow these recommendations to prevent any unintentional data leak.
Avoid being attacked and extorted by criminals
It is best to perform low-level formatting, which will replace every bit of information on the hard drive, USB or SD card. This way, the information that was registered is deleted and can no longer be accessed.
Keep in mind that recovering deleted files is very easy to do; can be executed by a user with basic computer knowledge, using programs that are even free. In a few minutes they scan the hard drive and recover all the information. For this reason, and to avoid being attacked, when selling a storage device run a low-level format.
Be sure to wipe your data on the storage system before selling it
Suppose the hard drive is no longer going to be reused and you want to format it. In that case, the best method to avoid exposing the data is through multiple formats, meaning that multiple consecutive formats must be carried out to overwrite the information that is to be permanently deleted.
For fairly recent data, the minimum for formatting a disk is twice, but the safest results are achieved by performing the following actions:
- Use a specific software, such as Darik’s Boot And Nuke; it’s completely free and open source.
- Use Disk Wipe, an easy tool on Windows, with automatic download.
- Install Eraser, a popular tool that permanently removes files and folders from the storage system. This program overwrites where user data is stored. It is recommended to do this cleaning about seven times to ensure the information is inaccessible.
- You can use a magnet to remove existing information, but it does not prevent data recovery.
Suppose you decide to sell any computer or device and want to prevent sensitive or private information from being stolen by the buyer. In that case, it is important to take these actions to guarantee that the data will not be used by computer criminals.
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