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How A Disk Shredder Can Secure Confidential Data

Feb 1, 2008
In a highly digitized world, more and more information is becoming encoded into computers. This is one of the factors that has helped to spur the so called information revolution, which made information more easily and widely accessible. In our digital age, computers are being used in a wide variety of places to perform a wide variety of tasks.

One of the most important tasks that computers are often asked to perform is to store, organize, or otherwise process information. This information may be as banal as grocery lists or email messages, but may also be as vital as client information or internal communications. As computers begin to be used to handle confidential information, it becomes important to put enough security measures into place.

Physical security, as always, is one of the options. By putting the computer or computers that handle vital information in a physically guarded or inaccessible location, the likelihood of the data being accessed by unauthorized viewers is greatly reduced. However, this means of security is not always practical, and may not even be possible, in some cases.

There are also software-based security options. These include password protection and encryption of data. These can serve as additional layers between the information and unauthorized access.

But both physical and software based security measures can only go so far. It is hypothetically possible for a determined hacker to gain access to information protected only by some combination of these two types of security. That is, these are not foolproof methods.

And in the case of data deleted from a hard disk, these security measures are usually not even applicable anymore! One might think that a deleted or reformatted hard disk would contain no more useful information, but one would be wrong. A hard disk that is not securely wiped may still contain the data of the files that used to be on the disk.

This is because reformatting or ordinary file deletion does not remove the data contained in a file from the hard disk. What happens is just that a tag or marker is placed on deleted files, which removes them from directory listings and makes the space they occupy available for future use. But the data is still physically on the disk until it is overwritten, which may not happen until the data has already been compromised.

The solution is to employ so called disk shredders, which can securely wipe the information from any hard disk. To do this, disk shredders physically overwrite all the sectors of a hard disk, thereby removing all traces of the previous data. The data that make up the various files and information on the hard disk are overwritten with random sequences of data produced by the disk shredder, making recovery next to impossible.

The use of disk shredders is good computing practice, since it lessens the risk of such information crimes as identity theft, or the compromise of confidential data. With the many disk shredder programs available on the internet, it has become rather easy to ensure the secure deletion of any hard disk.
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