In today’s digital world, sensitive information such as financial records, personal identity documents, or passwords are commonly stored on computers or mobile devices. The default method for deleting files on your computer is using the recycle bin, but did you know that simply deleting a file doesn’t get rid of it completely? Recovering deleted files is actually quite easy. Therefore, if you want to make sure your personal information is permanently erased, you need to go through some extra steps. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to securely erase sensitive files from your computer based on cybersecurity best practices.
Use a secure file deletion tool:
There are many software programs available that are specifically designed for securely deleting files. They overwrite the deleted file multiple times to remove any traces and make sure it can’t be recovered.
Encrypt your files before deleting or moving them:
You can secure your sensitive files by encrypting them with software before deleting or moving them. This method ensures that even if the deleted file is found later, it’s encrypted and can’t be accessed. Keep in mind that this technique requires additional steps such as creating a unique encryption key and verifying the integrity of the file encryption process.
Wipe your hard drive:
If you’re selling or giving away your computer to someone else, you might want to consider wiping the entire hard drive to ensure no personal data can be retrieved. You can do this by using a disk wiping program which writes over the entire hard drive with random data several times. This process is more time-consuming and not necessary for normal file deletion.
Use the built-in secure file deletion tool on your computer:
Most operating systems, like Windows and MacOS, have built-in file deletion tools that are more secure than just using the recycle bin. For example, in Windows, you can hold down the shift key while deleting the file, and it will bypass the recycle bin and permanently delete the file. In Mac, you can use the Secure Empty Trash feature by holding down the command key and clicking on the trash can icon.
Physically destroy your drive:
If you have an old hard drive or CD/DVD that contains sensitive data, the most fool-proof method of securely deleting it is by physically destroying it. You can use a hammer or drill to make holes in the drive, or take it to a professional destruction service that will shred it for you.
It’s essential to ensure that sensitive information is securely deleted from your computer to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. By using a secure file deletion tool, encrypting your files, wiping your hard drive, using built-in secure file deletion tools, or physically destroying your drive, you can take the necessary steps to protect your sensitive data. It’s important to remember that simply deleting a file doesn’t erase it completely, and one must use additional methods to ensure the information is fully removed from the device. So, be diligent and use appropriate methods to safely and completely erase any sensitive files from your computer.