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Data Security on Old Electronics

22 March 2021



AVOID HANGING ON TO OLD DEVICES: Keeping unwanted electronic gadgets in your home or office increases the risk of loss or theft, both of which could lead to serious problems. All the sensitive information you have on your computer – Banking information, social insurance numbers and passwords - is easily recovered by tech savvy scammers once devices are in their possession - your passwords are no match for them. When you get a new device, make sure you drop your old device off to a responsible e-waste processor to eliminate the possibility of your info getting into the wrong hands. 


GOT HARD DRIVES? CONSIDER GETTING THEM DESTROYED: The best way to guarantee your info remains private is to have drives, tapes and other storage hardware physically destroyed. If you know how to remove storage hardware you can destroy it yourself (literally, with power tools). Keep in mind that if you have not sufficiently damaged the internal bits of your device, data could still be recovered - and accessing storage devices can be a labour-intensive process. Most e-waste firms have professional hard drive shredders that guarantee destruction, so consider requesting physical destruction when you drop off your device for processing. Remember to speak with a rep and request confirmation of destruction. 


LOOKING TO DONATE YOUR DEVICE TO CHARITY? INVEST IN SOFTWARE-BASED DATA DESTRUCTION: Or let your e-waste processor of choice do it for you. An example of a proven data sanitization software is Blancco, a program that scrambles the binary code that makes up all of your data, on the most basic level (multiple pass, random array). Then it goes through and scrambles it again a set number of times - depending on the version of the software you select. This option takes a bit of time but is extremely thorough. Even the most advanced hacker won’t be able to recover that data. The benefit to this option is that storage devices can be safely reused by individuals who can’t afford brand new tech – so if you choose this option, well done! 


ALWAYS GET PROOF OF DESTRUCTIONIf you don’t have proof, you’re liable if a data breach happens. Any reputable e-waste processor will provide you with a certificate of destruction (hardware or software based) that will include the serial number, make and model of the device and the type of data sanitization used, all you need to do is ask. If they don’t offer certification, find a new processor. 


DON ’T THROW THEM IN THE GARBAGE! Out of sight – out of mind need not apply in this case. Once your device leaves your home or office it is vulnerable to recovery by the wrong type of people. Not only that, but devices are also highly toxic and non-biodegradable, and in some cases dumping devices is even illegal. Most recycling options are free and convenient, and many processors will come and pick up your equipment for a nominal fee or free of charge for larger quantities. 


Ready to securely dispose of your old equipment and free up some valuable storage space?Contact ERA today and they will come pick up your equipment or work with you on a custom e-waste disposal plan. 




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