| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

data security

‘You must be joking!’

My husband looks back at me, his eyes twinkling with the unspoken ‘I told you so’ message.

He’s just told me that there are ways to recover the data that has been deleted from an iPhone. This was his reply to my suggestion to sell my old iPhone.

So I started digging. It is not that I don’t trust John; still, we’ve had this ‘iPhone is rubbish’ discussion for a long time.

And there is a lot written on how to erase the data off you iPhone.

There is also a lot on how to recover the data on you iPhone.

One way is to use SmartPhone Recovery Pro; I checked it out and it seems so simple that I could do it myself. What is to stop someone else recovering my data apart from suspicion of tedium? (This suspicion is entirely justified, btw; most of what is on my iPhone is tedious and not worthy of recovery. It is still personal!)

The really disturbing stuff started surfacing when I dug deeper into the issues of data security.

Did you know, for instance, that every time you delete a file from your computer – be it a silly note to yourself, your latest go at writing a porno novel or just some pictures you’ve been messing about with – you have deleted absolutely nothing?

The way John (my husband and resident IT geek) explained it is:

‘When you press ‘delete’ you just delete the flag at the beginning of the file.’

You didn’t get this one? Neither do I. Still the message is loud and clear: deleting the files off a computer only means that you can’t see them.

Your files have not been deleted; they are still there and can be accessed with ease by all who have the knowledge and desire.

And it matters!

Your personal computer may not contain exciting information but it certainly contains sensitive and private information.

Let me just ask you this: when was the last time you checked you bank balance? Do you use Paypal, ePay or another electronic payment system?

I thought so!

All matters of data security are magnified many folds when we start talking about electronic devices used for business (or even only work).

All my work computers were recently encrypted (and I’m a university professor, remember?). At the time, I got annoyed – getting through the inscription is annoying, it is another password to remember. Now, I know better.

The good news is that some of the principles of Newtonian mechanics are still working in this age of digital crime: every action leads to a reaction that is equal in strength and opposite in direction.

Where there are data security risks, there are two principal ways to deal with it.

First, you can deal with data security risks by calling in the professional to destroy your old hard drives, laptops and flash drives so that no one can recover anything. There is a great video of a laptop being destroyed on the Datashredders website: you won’t believe what happens to this computer. And, as you can see, it is highly unlikely that someone can recover any of the information that you want gone forever.

And second, you can avoid physical destruction, attractive as this may seem, and wipe your hard drive(s) and flash drives squeaky clean. One of the techniques is to substitute the record of information for zeros: this techniques is known as ‘zero filling’ and there are software tools that can do it. If interested, here is a detailed blueprint of how to do this complete with assessment of software tools and reference to data recovery programmes you can use to make sure all has been wiped out.

The choice is yours.

Just do yourselves a favour and don’t compromise your personal or business data security.

This costs money, hassle and broken lives.

Are you data security aware? What do you do to ensure that your information is secure?

photo credit: data garbage via photopin (license)