Wiping vs. Destroying Hard Drives

A hard drive is a small box inside of computers that contain sensitive information. This information could include usernames, passwords, credit card information, and more. One hard drive can contain hundreds of thousands of files including: financial and tax records, internet purchases, emails, etc. While data-recovery technology continues to advance, data destruction becomes even more important.

Wiping a hard drive destroys the data on it by writing over it with random characters. However, overwriting may not be enough to prevent data from being recovered. Wiping is a time-consuming process that various with the age and size of the drive, and must be done by someone who is trusted, trained, and fully understands the process. A lot of times, after wiping a hard drive, companies will refurbish the electronic device for profit. This can be dangerous because if someone gets a hold of it and knows how to retrieve data, the previous owner is at risk. The office store, Staples, recently was in the news for selling refurbished consumer electronics and the new owners finding previous owners’ information on there. Wiping and refurbishing leaves information on hard drives at a higher risk.

Destroying a hard drive by shredding is a lot faster and easier for consumers. A hard drive shredder is very similar to an ordinary paper shredder, but hard drive shredders are much more robust and are capable of destroying multiple types and sizes of drives. These shredders can also destroy cell phones, and other data-storage devices. The end result is random sized strips of shredded material that can be resold as scrap.