A computer stores multiple files in the form of processed data for different purposes. It may be your credentials, pictures, videos, or work-related information. Whether your computer is for business or personal use, you may want to dispose it off at some point when you acquire a new machine. Before you sell your machine, you must conduct a data wiping process on your hard drive. It means that you have to delete your personal data entirely. Your hard drive may contain sensitive information, such as login details to several sites, medical records, bank account information, and other personal emails. Deleting files is not enough since the hard drive will still have traces of the information. Hackers might get a hold of your computer, retrieve the data using recovery software, and violate your privacy for criminal intentions. Visit Nakivo official website and find out more about backing up your data and wiping for security purposes.
This article aims to guide you on how to wipe your hard drive completely to protect your data from cybercriminals.
What is data wiping? It is a procedure that involves wiping data entirely from a hard drive to become illegible. It protects your data from landing into the wrong hands, and you can sell or reuse the hard drive once again.
Steps to Wipe Your Hard Drive
Your hard drive contains sensitive documents, passwords, bank details, and other data that is quite frustrating in case of loss due to malware attacks. Follow the steps below to wipe your hard drive completely:
Step 1- Back Up Files
The first step is to back up all your data to a secure location. You can choose an external hard disk or cloud storage, as long as your data is safe. Computer hard drives may crash, get infected with malware, or stolen; thus, it is essential to carry out regular backups.
While external hard drives are suitable backup options, the cloud service is much more efficient due to convenience, safety, and adequate storage space.
All you have to do is sign up to open an account with the cloud service provider of your choice. Enable the cloud storage option and start backing up data to online servers. The service uses high-level encryption technology that prevents hackers from accessing your files.
Step 2- Don’t Delete Files
If you delete files or empty the recycle bin, traces of your data will remain in the hard drive. While most users think that the files are gone, but they are still in the system. You can use data recovery software to restore all the deleted files.
When you dispose of the hard drive without data wiping, hackers can use the recovery software to retrieve all the sensitive information that you had deleted. You may become a victim of identity theft without your knowledge. Thus, it is vital to carry out the wiping process for adequate data security.
Step 3- Use Data Wiping Software
There are numerous data wiping software programs in the market that you can use to wipe data. Ensure that you purchase one from a reliable software vendor. These programs overwrite the deleted files in the hard drive to make the data unreadable. Even the recovery software can’t restore these files after the data wiping process is complete. It is efficient to use a data wiping software to erase your files on your computer.
Step 4- Wipe the Hard Drive Physically
You can double-erase the data on your hard drive by using an earth magnet to wipe all the information physically. It is a simple process that requires you to move the magnet slowly on the hard drive to distort the metal plates.
Step 5- Re-install the Operating System
Another efficient method that ensures complete data wiping is to install the operating system afresh. It will overwrite the original OS with all the files on the hard drive. If you are operating on a budget and don’t have the cash to purchase a data wiping software, you can opt to use this method.
Cybercriminals take advantage of personal data to commit fraud, identity theft, and spread malware through phishing attacks. If you want to sell your laptop or donate your PC, ensure that you conduct a data wiping process to erase personal information from your hard drive.