Disk Drive Destruction Would Reduce the Largest Data Breaches

The largest losses of consumer data are traced to either the theft or improper disposal of hard disk drives. Destroying the hard disk drives before they are given away or sold takes one of the components of theft out of the equation.

Here is one example of the improper disposal of computers, this one by a governmental agency.

A computer containing thousands of Social Security Numbers was found among a number of computers slated to be disposed of by the State of Kansas. This would have been a major violation of State and Federal Law. The discovery revealed the state needed to do a better job destroying the information before the computers are disposed of. That destruction can come in one of a couple ways. There are disk drive destruction companies who will come to your place of operation and physically destroy the disk drive platter so it can never be read again. Then the scrap is recycled. Another way to destroy the information is through sophisticated software programs that wipe out all the data on the disk drive. Simply “deleting” files does not work in that “deleted” files can quickly and easily be “restored” to the original file.

The review found 7 of 15 machines inspected contained information considered confidential under state and federal laws.

For the past 10 or more years, a number of other devices besides computers contain disk drives. Copiers, fax machines and scanners all contain disk drives. When a document is scanned or copies, an image of that document is stored on the disk drive in the machine. Be sure to remove those hard drives before disposing of any of those types of devices.