Want to protect your identity beyond the paper trail? Here’s how you can do it.
While document destruction can help you maintain your reputation and preserve your identity, whether it’s business or personal, shredding isn’t exclusive to just paper. Your identity can be spread far and wide on a variety of different media, from hard drives, CDs, and SIM cards.
Simply reformatting a hard drive or reinstalling the operating system does not guarantee that old data is unreadable. Your two options for data removal are to use a certified refurbisher or rely on commercial shredding. Of course, the best and most secure method of rendering hard drive information completely unusable is to completely destroy it.
Hard drive shredding works similarly to how papers are destroyed except it is the hard drive that is being shredded into unusable pieces. Hard drive shredding physically destroys old hard drives in such a way that the data they contain cannot be recovered. At a minimum, this involves severing every track on every platter in a drive. Data is impossible to retrieve once it has been pulverized.
If you’ve relied on CDs to store old information to make room on your computer, chances are some of those CDs are outdated and have long surpassed their retention period. Don’t leave them to collect dust in a storage room and risk someone stealing them. While you can easily break the disks apart using a hammer or the fold and bust method, the best way to ensure complete destruction is to use a professional shredding service.
Thumb Drives, SIM Cards, and More
Did you know that a little SIM card could cause you all sorts of problems if it fell into the wrong hands, ranging from identity theft to fraud? It can store information including text messages, emails, and contacts. The main purpose of a SIM card is to identify the user to the hand set. Small as they may be, they don’t belong in the trash. SIM cards must be destroyed, just as hard drives and CDs to ensure that no information is left behind. The same goes for thumb drives. Deleting the files off at thumb drive isn’t a sure-fire way to erase the data; it still remains until it is overwritten. Someone armed with the right tools and knowledge could recover files without too much trouble. Consider these devices and others, like DVDs, memory cards, and even old handheld devices, like mobile phones and tablets.
Whether it’s business or personal, our privacy challenges are not limited to paper-based information. Don’t leave media out of your identity protection plan.
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