When was the last time you did a data cleanse? If you have old laptops, computers, phones, or tablets kicking around, one of the biggest obstacles to finally getting them out of your house is the data.
There are a lot of obstacles to disposing of electronic waste. Getting rid of an old laptop isn’t as simple as tossing it in the garbage. First of all, they contain a number of hazardous materials including arsenic, cadmium, and lead, all of which are toxic to the environment. They should instead be disposed of with a responsible electronic recycling company.
Not so fast, though! Not only should you dispose of old electronics responsibly, but you also have to worry about all that data. Our electronics have tons of personal data stored on them. Passwords, banking information, search histories, personal documents – you name it! The safest way to make sure your data is protected before you dispose of old electronics is through an electronic waste destruction service like Absolute Destruction that provides you with a certificate of destruction.
Why You Should Destroy Old Hard Drives
The typical hard drive from any contemporary device may have information such as your:
- Social security number;
- Credit card information;
- Bank account number;
- Investment information;
- Passwords to online banking, websites with your credit card information saved, etc.
That’s just the information that could allow someone with access to steal your identity or transfer money out of your accounts. There’s also any personal data you have saved, from family photos to work-related documents. Ultimately, destroying your old hard drives is about preserving your privacy and protecting yourself against cyber-crime.
How Should You Destroy Data?
The most effective method for destroying data is to physically destroy the hard drive. There are a number of data wiping programs that will clear a hard drive but keep it useable. However, the only way to guarantee that the data is inaccessible is to destroy the magnetic disk inside.
There are DIY methods of destroying the disk drive, such as destroying it with a hammer or even cutting it up with a saw, but some of the more creative methods can be dangerous. Some devices aren’t made to be taken apart with tools you have lying around the house either.
How to Handle Active Digital Data
In addition to finally dealing with old electronics that have been sitting in your closet for too long, the new year is also an opportunity to clean up your active digital data to improve your cyber-security and make your digital life a little easier. Here are a few things that will help with both:
- Back up all your most important files;
- Start using a password manager with two-factor authentication rather than storing passwords on each individual website or app, especially those with credit card information stored on them;
- Clean up all those unread, unimportant emails in your inbox, or you can even start deleting emails that have been dealt with and are clogging up storage.
Start the New Year with a fresh digital profile!