Why Should You Wipe Your Hard Drive Before Selling It?

There are various reasons to clean a hard drive before selling it. Whether you’re replacing traditional drives with SSD or new hard drives to upgrade your computer or laptop. To avoid unwanted access to sensitive data, and safeguard data privacy, always safely wipe your hard drive before discarding it. It’s a good idea to take a few measures before erasing a disc. Important file should be backed up before completely wiping the laptop’s hard drive so that they can be retrieved by the seller afterwards.

According to The Harris Poll, the number of Americans affected by identity theft increased from 15 million in 2017 to 60 million in 2018. For example, unless the laptop is erased, the internet browser frequently keeps a deluge of important data that can be easily accessed. Another reason to wipe a drive is to protect prior activity, in addition to passwords. While internet attacks account for the majority of cases, offline and low-tech tactics also play a role in the rise of identity theft cases around the world.

And it all starts with how you or your company secures and handles data, as well as how you or your organisation disposes of storage drives and devices with storage media, such as PCs, laptops, smartphones, and so on. A PC or network hard drive holds not just your personal files that you’ve produced or downloaded, but also sensitive data that the system and apps have stored.

A web browser, for example, saves your browsing history, saved passwords, credit card information, and other information on the storage medium. If someone gains access to your hard disc, even if it is formatted, they can quickly recover your personal information. As a result, erasing a hard drive is essential for data security.

Skilled hackers may occasionally reverse-engineer cookies and other tracking data, allowing them to see all of the ways the system was used. In other circumstances, GPS information is even accessible, allowing a hacker to see where the laptop went.

As governments around the world raise worries about user data and privacy, erasing the hard drive and data becomes more critical for businesses—not only to preserve their sensitive data and trade secrets, but also to secure their customer/user data.

Organizations now have a larger responsibility for the security and privacy of their users’ data. To avoid a data breach, they must safely and environmentally dispose of user data. And if a company fails to comply with data protection regulations like GDPR, it might face a hefty fine of €10-20 million or 2% 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. Not to mention the impact of a data breach on a company’s reputation and user trust.

How to Wipe a Hard Drive Safely?

Simply deleting personal files or formatting a hard drive does not delete or destroy the data on the drive. As previously stated, such deleted and formatted files can be retrieved using a simple and free software programme.

Of course, you can physically destroy a hard disc to protect data from a breach by shredding, drilling, degaussing, and so on. However, you won’t be able to sell or reuse the drive after that. Physical destruction also produces harmful e-waste, particulate matter (PM) particles, and increases carbon footprints, all of which contribute to environmental degradation.

When you wipe an HDD with safe data eraser software like BitRaser, every bit of data on the drive is erased, i.e. rewritten, according to worldwide data erasure standards like DOD 5220.22-M (3 passes/7 passes), NIST, and others. BitRaser is data erasure software for hard drives and SSDs in PCs, laptops, and servers that is safe and secure. To wipe your hard drive(s) in an environmentally responsible manner, you can utilise any of the 22 international data sanitization (secure-erasure) standards and configure up to 5 additional custom sanitization algorithms.

BitRaser creates a tamper-proof data erasure report and certificate of erasure with 100 percent audit trails after wiping the drive, ensuring data deletion beyond recovery—where no recovery tool or services, including forensic tools, can recover any usable traces of the data. As a corporation or professional, you can use this digitally signed certificate of erasure to comply with regulatory and statutory data security obligations, audits, and legislation like GDPR.

Sensitive and private files should always be securely erased, not just deleted. You can protect yourself from data breaches and identity theft by deleting files or wiping HDDs with safe file eraser software like BitRaser before discarding them. Avoid expensive fines as well as a loss of reputation and user trust.

When using storage media such as a hard drive, SSD, SD card, or thumb drive, employ encryption. Always utilise BitRaser software for secure destruction of all storage devices such as Hard Drives, SSD, Servers, Pen Drives SD cards etc.  If you’re selling an old hard drive, what should you do? Don’t do it until you’ve double-checked that the drive has been properly wiped.