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Disk Wipe - Why & How
Computers have become more widespread than ever, with every business
and organization usually relying to some extent on these information
machines. They facilitate the performance of many otherwise tedious
tasks within any organization, and really help to boost productivity.
Many measures have been developed to help protect data from unauthorized
access. These include password protection schemes, encryption, and
so on, which can provide layers of security to shield important
information. But in general, these schemes are still, at least in
theory, not entirely foolproof. Given enough time and resources,
dedicated hackers would still be able to break the codes and access
the data within.
Physical protection of the digital storage devices is also another
option. However, this is not always feasible, or even possible.
And when the hard disks containing the confidential information
are to be disposed of or transferred to other locations, this physical
security may not be possible to be retained.
In these cases, there is another way to ensure that data is inaccessible,
and that is to perform the disk wipe operation. A disk wipe permanently
and securely deletes all information on a hard disk, leaving virtually
no chances for recovery. These utilities are necessary because ordinary
file deletion or even hard disk reformatting does not actually delete
data for good.
To securely and permanently delete single files or groups of
files, software utilities known as file shredders are used. These
file shredders take deletion one step further by actually physically
overwriting the shredded file on the disk with randomized data.
That is, instead of leaving most of the file data intact on the
disk, file shredders actually replace this data with random, uncorrelated
information. This makes it much harder, if not nearly impossible,
to be able to recover the original data.
A disk wipe, on the other hand, physically overwrites the data
on the hard drive with random sets of data. That is, the data is
garbled by the disk wipe software to make it almost impossible to
be recovered. The entire hard disk is then overwritten with random
data so as to eliminate all traces of the data that was previously
on the hard disk. The benefit of performing a disk wipe is obvious.
The chances of recovering deleted data from the hard disk are greatly
reduced and almost disappear.
And it is rather easy to wipe a hard disk. All that is needed
is a copy of the disk wipe software to be used on some removable
storage media. Typically, when this removable media is connected
to a hard disk, the disk wipe software automatically executes and
performs the wipe. This makes it possible to perform disk wipes
in bulk, which is a good thing for companies and large organizations.
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